Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Breaking out of a Funk

Mant people often suffer from mild depression and felt detached and unenthusiastic. This is often just from stress, which causes the brain to protect itself and shut itself into it's own little, sad world.
Every suggestion here involves breaking out of that confine. Every suggestion requires a GREAT ACT OF WILL to get the ball rolling, which may require more or less effort, depending on how much juice you got at the time.

It is often tempting to let your brain and life coast and take the easiest route, but this route is easy because it is well-tread. What novelty and joy of discovery--what meaning--was there is likely long-ago used up. To find fresh meaning we have to do fresh things. We have to fearlessly cultivate new perspectives.

Perhaps you want the meaning first, and for your actions to follow that. The reverse must sometimes be necessary. Do something fresh you care nothing about, and let the meaning come from that.
  1. Act without expectation. Do stuff even if you don't want to and aren't feeling it. A friend just invited me to the batting cages-- an activity I had zero interest in. I went anyway and before long really got into the challenge of it. I've been thinking about it all week- this stupid, pointless activity- and fondly remembering how good it feels to get that perfect contact and watch it fly. Pull a Jim Carrey and be a Yes Man for a while. Give yourself time to get into things.
  2. Explore new topics. Watch documentaries, even if they seem boring on the outset. Human Life or Blue Planet or anything about space. Read. Meaning is not found in bite sized snippets. Meaning is found in webs of association, attachments and collusions. This requires in-depth exploration. A rain-forest from a plane might seem like one boring green expanse. Plunge in. I'll also recommend Grant Morrison's "The Filth". It's a graphic novel intended to cure just this. It is psychedellic, unsettling and completely awsome.
  3. Listen and ask questions. If people are starting to bore you, it is likely you're not having the right sort of conversations. Talk to the people you're close to (or random old dudes in coffee shops) and try and get them to reveal their motivations and hopes. Ask them what excites them and listen. This can backfire. Some people are terrible drains if they're in a negative mood. This is how you've probably been. People may not be talking to you about what excites them if they think you'll sap their enthusiasm with your "meh" attitude.
  4. Embrace your ennui. Read some Camus and Satre and revel in their understanding of the futility and pointlessness of existence. Sometimes when we can't escape melancholy or boredom, it is at least good to have a friend there.
  5. If it gets really bad, go talk to a therapist. There's a chance you have a mood disorder. I personally prefer psychologists over psychaiatrists as they're less prone to jamming pills down your throat.

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