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Vihaan Das

@vihadas

India

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Life as a narrow bridge

"The world is a narrow bridge and the important thing is to not be afraid" - Hebrew prayer.

The world we live in is uncertain and full of risks and it's easy to get scared and look down instead of looking forward. But if you peer over to the side of the bridge, you lose the motivation to continue, you freeze up and stop making good decisions.

@vihadas

Stoic Motivation: It's Ok To Be Scared. Just Don't Be AFRAID.

youtube.com

What does help in a situation in which you are scared: training, courage, discipline, commitment and calm.

From all of the above, courage is held by the stoics as the most essential virtue.

Chris Hadfield
"It's not that astronauts are braver than other people. We're just meticulously prepared."

Astronauts face all kinds of difficult, very risky situations in space. And the margin for error is extremely tiny in those situations.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield says that the key in these difficult situations is to remind yourself that there are things you can to make the situation better.

There is no problem so bad that you can't make it worse.

And that's the difference between being scared and being afraid - the latter prevents you from improving your situations and it may even make things worse.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed effort to convert retreat into advance."
Marcus Aurelius
Don't let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don't try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, “Why is this so unbearable? Why can't I endure it?" You'll be embarrassed to answer.
Personality Psychology: Important Terminology
  • Classical conditioning: A behavioural technique where a natural stimulus is paired with a previously neutral stimulus. The previously neutral stimulus eventually cause the response without pairing it to the natural stimulus.
  • Operant conditioning: A behaviour training technique where punishments or reinforcements influence behaviour.
  • Unconscious: The container for feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories.
  • Id: The personality component made up of unconscious psychic energy used to satisfy basic urges, needs, and desires.
  • Ego: The unconscious part of the personality that moderates the id's demands, the superego, and reality.
  • Superego: The part of personality composed of our internalised ideals that comes from our parents and society.

What Personality Theories in Psychology May Tell You About Yours

verywellmind.com

While we often talk about personality, psychologists disagree on what exactly constitutes personality.

Personality is then broadly defined as the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that originate within the person and make a person unique. It is what makes you, you.

  • Personality is organized and consistent.
  • Personality is generally stable, but the environment can influence it. A shy personality in social situations might take charge and be more outspoken in an emergency.
  • Personality causes behaviours to happen. You react to your environment based on your personality.
  • Experimental methods are used by researchers to control and manipulate the variables of interests and then to measure the results. The ideas are internal, abstract, and difficult to measure.
  • Case studies and self-report methods. Case studies rely on the observer's interpretations, and self-report methods depend on the memory of the individual of interest. These methods are highly subjective.
  • Clinical research relies on information collected from clinical patients throughout treatment. This research is highly subjective.
  • Biological Theories suggest genetics are responsible for personality traits.
  • Behavioural Theories suggest that personality is the result of interaction between the individual and the environment.
  • Psychodynamic Theories of personality emphasize the influence of the unconscious mind and childhood experiences on personality.
  • Humanist Theories emphasize the importance of free will and individual experience in the development of personality.
  • Trait Theories think personality is made up of several broad traits.

A trait is a stable characteristic or "blueprint" that causes specific behavioural patterns.

  • The three dimensions of personality: extroversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism.
  • Later researchers suggested five dimensions of personality (known as the Big 5 theory): openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
  • Sigmund Freud: He was the founder of psychoanalytic theory. His theories emphasised the unconscious mind, childhood experience, dreams, and symbolism.
  • Erik Erikson: He was an ego psychologist. His theory of psychosocial stages describes the development of personality throughout the lifespan.
  • B.F. Skinner: He was a behaviourist and known for his research on operant conditioning and schedules of reinforcement.
  • Sandra Bem: She developed a gender schema theory to explain how society and culture transmit ideas about sex and gender.
  • Abraham Maslow: He was a humanist psychologist and developed the hierarchy of needs.
  • Carl Rogers: He was a humanist psychologist and believed people have a drive to fulfil the individual potential that motivates behaviour.
Mindfulness
It involves paying attention to something while letting go of judgments and assumptions. Don’t try to change it. Instead, be open to the experience, regardless of whether you like or dislike it. 

This Is How To Overcome Anger: 5 Powerful Secrets From Mindfulness

bakadesuyo.com

Knowing what triggers your anger
Usually we don’t even realize we’re angry until furniture is being broken. But if you know the circumstances that trigger your anger, you can avoid them or prepare yourself.
Emotions are made up of 3 components:
  • physical (the way your body responds when you experience an emotion),.
  • cognitive (the thoughts that go along with the emotion).
  • behavioral (the things you do or have urges to do when you experience an emotion). 
Overcome anger with mindfulness:
  • Study your anger: It’s hard to prevent something if you don’t know what causes it. 
  • Avoid triggers: Now that you know what causes your anger, stay away from those things
  • Train your mind: Practice mindfulness exercises.
  • Break the loop: Address the physical elements, the thoughts and the behaviors that are associated with your anger and you can prevent it from spiraling out of control.
  • Ride the wave: Put mindfulness into action. Note the thoughts, feel the feelings, but don’t do anything that’s going to get you jail time.
What Mars Is Like

Mars is currently a dry and irradiated planet according to our robot friends, Perseverance and Curiosity. Evidence suggests that Mars was once a wet planet, however, there is substantial debate regarding Mars' origins and the life span of its long-lost bodies of water.

Some theory suggests that it might have been because of active volcanoes that melted the Martian permafrost, while others suggest that it was because of a cataclysmic asteroid impact.

3 Great Mysteries About Life on Mars

nytimes.com

  • Scientists believe that as long as there is a consistent source of water, life forms will be able to flourish. However, Mars' surface has been exposed to damaging solar and cosmic radiation, so the chances of life ever forming are largely reduced.
  • Unlike Earth, Mars did not have a relatively thick atmosphere nor did it have a strong magnetic field for it to end up like Earth.
  • With the lack of a magnetic sheath to protect it from the solar wind, Mars' atmosphere has been stripped away.
  • The question we have right now is that "can Mars host life now?"
  • We're still not sure yet. However, if we're not speaking about humanoids inhabiting Mars, then there might be a possible chance that there are already existing life forms already in Mars' subterranean reservoirs due to some evidence that there is liquid water locked away in it.
  • But for now, the red planet remains as an eerie time capsule of the era when Earth formed into what we know of it today.
Think Small

Seneca once said to Lucilius that one should acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, death, and other misfortunes.

We place a heavy emphasis on just one thing every day is something and that's the most important thing. "One thing a day adds up and the sooner you start the better you'll feel and be."

The Secret to Better Habits - RyanHoliday.net

ryanholiday.net

Just because we cannot see the results of our efforts doesn't mean it isn't there. It takes longer than we'd like to see more often than not.

Even when we don't see the outcome immediately we mustn't give up because greatness takes time and that greatness is realized by small steps.

It's easy to start doing or quitting something but the challenging part is the constant continuity. If you want to start/quit doing something, start with something small just to prove to yourself that you can.

What we do is what determines who we can be and if we want to be great we have to develop the daily habits we need to become great.

Epictetus taught us that habit is a powerful influence and that we are constantly tolerating ourselves when we chase our impulses and thus becomes a slippery slope.

It takes virtue to counteract a bad habit. If for example you want to quit procrastinating, no matter how much we fight it we end up losing. Instead clear your head and hit the reset button instead.

Routinization lessens our stress when disturbances and distractions come along. When order and clarity are integrated it is much more difficult to tear you down and lessen the feeling of hopelessness.

Find a routine that fits your lifestyle the best may that be in the form of journaling or cleaning your house is all up to you.

When we become addicted to a habit it's extremely difficult to get rid of it, most especially when it's a habit that isn't beneficially tangible. Addictions can range from coffee-drinking to playing phone games.

By challenging yourself to incentivize it's going to help you to remove the habit easier. Start by going off of your phone for an hour and give yourself a reward of a treat up until the point where you don't rely on your phone anymore.

Place a reminder somewhere where it's totally visible and in your line of sight. When you see it often it becomes imprinted in your mind.

Reminders hold power in them and they really make you better. It gives you something to rest on to prevent yourself from backsliding.

A famous playwright once said "Tell me who you spend time with and I will tell you who you are." Your life comes to resemble its environment, so choose your surroundings wisely.

Who we surround ourselves with are the people we're going to become. We make often make the same life decision as to the adults we spend time with. If we hang out with people who tolerate being in horrible situations, we will most likely do so too.

Making choices for ourselves constantly is exhausting. It drains us mentally and physically. That's why when we enroll at a gym we usually get a personal trainer so that you just have to follow their instructions and then you're done for the day.

In building habits, it's easier to know what to do and how to do it so try finding a challenge you can participate in no matter what it is as long as the aim is to make yourself and your life better.

The path to personal development and growth is never a straight line. Oftentimes we find ourselves going back to a habit like cheating on our diet, but that's okay. It doesn't mean that you're a terrible person for doing it. Don't let it discourage you and just get back on track. It's okay.

When you mess up, come back to the habits you've been working on. Don't quit because you're not perfect.

Tim Ferriss
“The hard choices—what we most fear doing, asking, saying—these are very often exactly what we most need to do.”

Why Are You Stuck? 5 Questions to Shift Your Mindset And Get Unstuck

lifehack.org

Some people allow fears to keep them stuck in their situations. Fear has the ability to keep you stuck and control your mindset.

You can silence it by stating this fear out loud and becoming familiar with the worst-case scenario.

Gary Vaynerchuk
“You Don’ t need permission to chase your dreams. Go execute.”

Do not wait for others to approve your choices. When you want something, go for it.

If you want to quit your job, quit. You do not need your friend’s approval to do it. If you want to lose weight, start eating healthy. Do not worry about what other people think of you.

If you want to get unstuck, ask yourself “What ignites my fire?

Feeding the fire will keep you focused, motivated and productive.

Being stuck is not about a lack of knowledge, it is about lack of execution. If you want to execute your plans, adopt a commitment mindset.

Your commitments are the bridge between you and your ideal life. Commitment is a mindset that is guaranteed to get you unstuck from any situation you find yourself in.

Once you get clear on your goals, it is easier to get unstuck and shift your mindset.

Be clear on your goals, and the change that you are seeking.

About Fear
  • Most people are in the dark about their fears. The unknown, random and unwanted scenarios or events that could happen in the future, forms the general anxiety known as fear. This can include a fear of losing one’s job, getting sick with a virus, or getting old.
  • Some fears are in our deep, subconscious minds, and include the fear of not being in control, of not being good enough, and even some collective fears passed on from our ancestors.

Here's How to Harness the Power of Fear for Good

thriveglobal.com

Fear has the tendency to divide and isolate us, to shrink us to a tiny version of ourselves. Other negative emotions like jealousy, resentment, anger, bitterness and self-pity also have their roots in fear.

Some fear is good, like staying away from things or activities that can endanger us, but most fear is psychological and a false shadow inside our heads.

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”

We try to attribute our fears to outside circumstances and falsely believe that by changing things we can get rid of our fears. Fear is just a belief inside our heads, a mindset that has gone in the darkness.

Like with all beliefs, we can retrain our mind and remove our fears.

Most of the time we don’t second guess them, and even if we do, they often end up overwhelming us. 

Negative feelings are very powerful and harder to question: we identify with them effortlessly. “I feel it, so it must be true” is often our default setting.

This Is How To Be Resilient: 4 Secrets To Grit When Life Gets Hard - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

bakadesuyo.com

Resilience is most times associated with being tough. But that’s not gonna get you very far with feelings. Don't try to be invulnerable. Aim for flexibility instead.

You cannot avoid or resist all pain in life. But you can learn to live with your discomfort better.

We have trouble dealing with feelings because the usual problem-solving rules don't really apply to them.

When faced with a problem, we can always avoid it or deny it. But attempting to resist negative feelings won’t work. Any attempt at suppression only amplifies them. We must go from avoidance to acceptance.

  • Consciously notice how you’re feeling and study it as a scientist would.
  • Label the feeling. But don't identify with them. It’s a thing you’re experiencing, not what you are.
  • Make space for your feelings in your mind. Remember that trying to suppress them will not work.
  • Turn your attention to the world around you. This way, the relative importance of your feelings will shrink.
Blocked Away Due To Distractions

The majority of busy-being-busy people, who are addicted to distractions, worry, shopping and other stuff are missing out on life and don’t have the clarity to realise that.

They end up creating a field of hurt due to repressing their emotions, as they are removed from the reality of life. Their repressed toxic energy blocks them from their creativity, productivity and new opportunities.

The Missing Link to Personal Mastery - The Daily Mastery Podcast by Robin Sharma

open.spotify.com

We still live scarce lives because we ourselves are blocking our wealth, growth and opportunities.

We need clarity to create mastery in our lives, and craft our daily behaviour to be more intentional and focused.

Happiness Is Not Like Instant Coffee

Happiness is a slow burn, something existentially different from the various feel-good ‘rewards’ that most of us believe to be happiness, and are therefore addicted to.

With many of us who are unconsciously looking for happiness online, the little releases of dopamine when we get ‘likes’ or any other social media validation has made us forget the real, longer-term happiness that comes from bonding, or feeling healthy, or even by just breathing in nature.

Don't confuse "reward" for happiness

draudreyt.com

People who exercise regularly feel a certain bliss post-workout. It is a state of happiness that comes from the release of endocannabinoids after the body has pushed itself harder than normal.

Runners experience this state of ‘high’ after they complete a good run.

Also known as the ‘reward’ high, it is a happy chemical released in the brain as a reward for anything that is pleasurable. It is a short-lived feeling that goes as soon as it comes.

The plus side is that it is also felt when we achieve any goal, or even when we simply tick a box in our to-do list.

Bonding with fellow humans and animals makes us happy. A hug from a loved one, or even stoking one’s dog releases oxytocin in our brain and has lasting benefits of happiness.

Even looking at old pictures of fond memories does the same thing to us.

Our bodies can self-produce morphine during orgasm, or heavy exercise, providing a release of ‘endorphins’ that also assist in relieving pain.

Acupuncture therapy also stimulates this type of hormones to be secreted in the body.

Yoga and meditation provide a sense of peace and calmness, which is due to the hormone GABA.

This anti-anxiety molecule produced during such practices works by slowing down the neurons being fired inside the mind.

This hormone stabilizes our emotions, and can also affect our ‘arousal’ intensity and bowel movements.

Low levels of this ‘stabilizing’ molecule is linked to depression.

Our vast catalogue of hormones produced in the body also includes the ‘energy’ molecule, adrenaline (epinephrine) which when released, creates a surge inside the body which feels exhilarating.

Extreme sports, horror films, roller coasters and sudden accidents (fight or flight situations) trigger this hormone.

We could help ourselves with the following understanding:

  1. Dopamine comes and goes like a flash, and oxytocin is a better, more lasting happiness hormone.
  2. Loving others generates oxytocin, but so does loving and being kind to yourself.
  3. Breathing exercises make us calm, and create a sense of bliss.
  4. Thrill seeking pursuits have to be safe, and should not result in burnout.
  5. Regular exercise is one activity to impact many of the hormones.

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