From my book How to Be Cross Eyed: Thriving Despite Your Physical Imperfection — a mémoire and lifehacking manifesto
In my research for this book I read a not insignificant number reports from people talking about their struggles in life and I kept hearing about depression — those with physical imperfections and birth defects often struggle with depression, anxiety and psychological self torture.
They certainly have my sympathy, I don’t blame them for being depressed but it’s important to understand that your physical imperfection is most likely not the physiological cause of your depression. Depression is a manifestation of some dysfunction in your neurobiology. Your physical imperfection is an aesthetic feature, it’s just skin deep. Your depression or lack of motivation is a separate issue. It might be easy to think that they are linked because you seethe with self loathing every time you catch a glimpse of your reflection but trust me you could go under the knife of the most talented plastic surgeon in the world and if you’re chronically depressed it wouldn’t make much if any difference!
Online in various personal development forums you’ll find a lot of bad advice for overcoming depression…
- People without physical imperfections telling you that you should just ignore what you see in the mirror.
- A lot of tired self help platitudes about just being yourself; you’ll finally be happy if you can just practice radical self acceptance. Be confident. Just be yourself.
- If you have a really hard time making friends or dating people will tell you to find someone who accepts you just the way you are!
- If you lack motivation you’ll hear the misleading line of advice that you should find your passion! Figure out a way to get paid to do what you love and you’ll never work again another day of your life.
- If you suffer from a cruel inner dialog of negative thoughts they’ll tell you just be positive! Or recommend repeating silly mantras.
I don’t blame you for being depressed with this kind of crappy advice! Whether your depression is chronic or sporadic this stuff won’t do much to help.
The Good News
Is that, in a sense, depression is a lot less complicated than you may think it is. It’s a expression of cause and effect just like everything else in the universe. Overcoming depression doesn't require that you grapple daily with your inner demons or figure out some esoteric pseudo-spiritual technique for reprogramming some deep layer of your psychology. It just requires persistent action, empowering habits and likely changing what you’re consuming.
The bad news is that overcoming depression takes work.
There’s a long term friend of mine that is a virgin. I think he’s in his early 30's now and he’s still a virgin but you wouldn’t really guess that if you met him. He’s quite social and friendly. He has a car, an apartment and a not bad job. One day on a long car ride he admitted to me that he was a virgin. He had made the admirable religious commitment to no sex before marriage but the problem was that he never got married. None of the girls in his college church group were particularly interested in dating him seriously and he was so busy studying intensively to become a pilot that he just kind of put off worrying about it — god will bring the right person into my life when the time is right — and next thing you know you’re 30 and still a virgin. He was starting to get pretty frustrated with it and seemed willing to compromise on the marriage requirement to just get it out of the way. Here’s what I told him:
Man. You need to take this seriously. Getting past this is obviously not coming naturally to you — that’s OK — it doesn't mean you’re a bad person. But if you want to finally put this being a virgin thing in the rear view you need to treat losing your virginity like a demanding part time job for the next 6–12 months. You need to devote some serious time and effort, probably 10–20 hours a week to learning game — the art of seduction. Going out meeting girls, daygame, nightgame, going to the gym, changing your social circle along with spending a little money improving your looks and style. If you put in the time and the work, you will get laid eventually and because of the effort it takes it will be such a sweet and momentous victory for you when it finally happens.
And unfortunately, he didn’t take my advice, comfort and self pity are enticing seductresses that will trap you in a prison of mediocrity. I encouraged my friend further…
The mindsets and habits that you instill in 6–12 months of learning game will transform you into a better man that can be the great husband you ultimately want to be.
The same advice applies to overcoming depression, if you’re willing to focus intensely on fixing this problem for a medium term period, it might be just a few months or it might take a whole year, you’ll get over it and you’ll be better for it.
Let’s get real practical, here’s what you need to focus on to overcome depression…
I know diet is not the sexiest subject but you are what you eat. If you’re serious about personal transformation there’s no excuse being lazy or cavalier about your diet. And of course the best diet varies from person to person, but what follows are some guidelines and diet hacks. The best recent science has reached the conclusion that Keto or Paleo-style diet is the diet most copasetic with our evolutionary biology and conducive to our productivity and happiness.
- The majority of your meals should be comprised mostly of healthy fats (like coconuts!) or protein. Minimize consumption of carbohydrates, especially during the day when you need maximum brain power and focus.
- Most people are not going to do well with abstaining from carbohydrates for weeks or months. So for most people it’s fine to do a carb heavy meal a couple of times a week.
- Junk food in shiny packaging.
- Non-organic meat or animal products — Not consuming meat is a whole lot better than consuming factory farmed, grain feed, hormonally treated animals. I’m not a vegetarian but I avoid eating a lot of meat unless it’s from a pretty credible source.
- GMO foods — Avoid regularly eating cheap food from big box grocery stores or fast food restaurants and try to purchase your food from local farmers or organic sources. Once after 2 months of eating fresh bananas in Costa Rica I returned to the United States and ate a banana at my mom’s house from WalMart and I could really taste the difference.
- Fried food is just eating cancer and often contains egregious amounts of PUFA oils that do all sorts of damage to your internal organs.
- Fruit which is high in fructose.
- “Healthy” or low fat foods that contain a lot of sugar.
- Cheap food, which is, more often than not, of poor quality.
A lifehack for smarter grocery shopping is to shop around the perimeter of the store — the center of the store is where you’ll be tempted by all the sugary, over packaged, highly processed GMO foodstuffs.
Buying your food from a local farmers market as opposed to your big chain grocery stores is tantamount to getting your computer fixed by a small local business instead of by the Geek Squad at Best Buy. Given the choice most people would deal with a small business that is going to provide a higher quality product or service since they genuinely value your business. The same logic applies even more so when buying your food.
- The following website is recommended for those seeking locally produced food: EatWild.com
- Whole Foods or boutique grocers that specialize in certified organic or locally grown foods are also a good option.
If you eat local, certified organic food you will see your body change within a week and you will feel better.
The Brain Power Diet
You don’t need to break the bank eating all these things every day but these try to get some of them in your diet weekly…
Organic wild caught seafood —Seafood which is rich in essential EPA and DHA oils can be tremendously nutritious if you’re willing to the splurge a little for the good stuff. The cheapo seafood you’ll find at Walmart or at a sushi happy hour is bad news.
Tuna — Tuna is one of the most nutrient rich foods you can eat. It contains high quality protein, the minerals selenium, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin B complex and omega-3 fatty acids for memory power. In fact Tuna, particularly yellowfin tuna, has one of the highest levels of Vitamin B6. Studies have shown that B6 is directly linked to memory, cognition and long term brain health. Generally, the B vitamins are among the most important for balancing your mood. B6 in particular influences dopamine receptors (dopamine is one of your “feel good” hormones along with serotonin).
Broccoli —If you find broccoli boring I won’t hold it against you. You’re probably doing it wrong. I lathered it with Kerrygold butter, a bunch of turmeric, a sprinkle of pepper and salt, a dash of Cayenne pepper, a few cloves of garlic, Rosemary, mustard seeds and a squeeze of lemon.
Spinach — A few times a week I enjoy this delicious salad of spinach, red beets, blueberries, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a bit of french cheese. Just don’t eat a ton of spinach every day.
Chocolate — Despite its mass commercialization chocolate is natural fruit byproduct. Dark, organic, chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and has some caffeine in it. Additionally chocolate boosts your serotonin (another powerful ‘feel good’ chemical), this is why people joke about being addicted to chocolate. Dark chocolate is also rich in fiber. (Remember, fiber = healthy cardiovascular system = healthy brain.) Avoid: sugary, processed milk chocolate candy bars. Cacao Nibs (or Cacao Beans) are a tasty natural chocolate snack that are high in phytochemicals and antioxidants your brain loves. Pick up a bag of Cacao Nibs and grab a handful when you are craving a candy bar.
- Avocados— Contain protein and monounsaturated fat that helps blood circulate faster to the brain. Avocado & eggs make for a real power breakfast.
- Pumpkin seeds.
- Brazil nuts — This is the nut for manly men. A few brazil nuts a day raises your testosterone.
- Cayenne pepper—Is an amazing (and very spicy) natural antioxidant.
- Turmeric and pepper — Spice used in India, elevates neurotrophic factors, helps with depression and eliminates memory deficits. Make sure to enjoy turmeric with a little pepper. The absorption of the turmeric is bad without it.
- Blueberries — Blueberries contain a blend of flavonoids with potent antioxidant effects in the brain. They’re also rich in pterostilbene, which is an improved version of its sister molecule, resveratrol. That’s because pterostilbene is more bioavailable than resveratrol and more potent.
- Salt — Is NOT bad for you. You can consume all the salt you want. First thing in the morning I’ll often have a big glass of water with a bunch of delicious pink himalayan sea salt ground into it. If you ever get muscle cramps at night try increasing your salt intake.
- Rosemary — Contains carnosic acid which is neuroprotective and helps prevent neurodegenerative brain conditions. Rosemary has for millennia been known to improve brain power, in fact Greek mythology associates it with powers of the mind. Some studies have shown that the scent of rosemary can improve memory in workers so you may want to keep some by your desk. Take a wiff in the morning!
This type of primal diet is especially empowering in combination with…
Intermittent Daily Fasting
Try to spend about 12–16 hours of your day NOT eating. Typically this entails eating dinner around 8PM in the evening, skipping breakfast and eating a late lunch in the early afternoon. At first you may be hungry in the mornings, but you’ll soon get accustomed to it and will find that it saves you precious time in the morning not preparing a meal or snacking. It’s fine to drink coffee and tea in the mornings while doing the intermittent fast. Do this 5–6 days a week.
There is this pernicious diet myth that a lot of people believe in — that you should eat frequently; eat five small meals a day or that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is something that was promoted by corporations like Kellogg — the big food industrial complex — to get people to just consume more of their products. Think about our ancestors, the prehistoric humans that lived for hundreds of thousands of years before us; they didn’t have an abundance of snack foods or small meals. They would forage for food in the wild often going long hours (or days) without food. Infrequently the men of the tribe would take down some big game and then everybody would gorge themselves on meat. This eating all the time thing is very modern and increasingly science is finding that it’s not good for us.
The ideal way to consume food is to eat it raw. Raw meats, fruits and vegetables retain the highest amounts of nutrients. However, very few people are willing to make a lifestyle change to eating raw food all the time. The important thing to keep in mind is that when cooking, less is more, the less cooked your food is the more good stuff it retains.
Steaming is the recommended way to cook to maintain the maximum nutritional value. For fruits and vegetables make sure to eat the skin because that’s where the nutrients are. The most simple way to steam is place your plate with the food in a larger pot that is partially filled with water, then cover both so that the steam is contained once you place the larger pot on the heating elements. Or buy a steamer. Frying, cooking and microwaving of your food will strip nutrients from it
The good, the bad and the ugly
Coffee can either be a tremendous stimulator of productivity or a vice that you become dependent upon.
- Drink the good stuff. As a rule of thumb if coffee tastes bad, then it’s likely bad for you. Even healthy coffee is naturally a little bitter but it shouldn’t taste awful and make you scowl. You should be able to drink coffee black. Spend a little more to drink quality coffee.
- You’ll also know by how anxiety prone it makes you after multiple cups. For me, if I drink 2–3 cups of coffee and notice myself getting irate with little things, that’s also a sign that it’s not good stuff. Actual healthy coffee consumed in reasonable doses should wake you up, make you alert and motivated but not anxious and overstimulated. Try to limit your consumption to 2–3 cups of coffee daily. More and you’re becoming too dependent on the stuff for energy.
- Don’t add sugar, cream, milk (or soy milk) to your coffee. These additives diminish the significant health upside of coffee.
- If you need to improve the taste of coffee try doing it “bulletproof style” mixing in some butter.
- In almost any city in the world you can find an organic or vegan food grocery store that sells high quality coffee or go to a hipster cafe and you’ll likely find some tattooed baristas who are real connoisseurs of 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine (the chemical name of caffeine).
- Coffee shouldn’t be the first thing you consume in the morning. Start the morning by hydrating yourself; mineral water with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice is ideal. Then have coffee after you’ve been up for about an hour.
- Caffeine is the enemy of sleep quality. To optimize sleep quality cut off caffeine consumption at 6–12 hours before sleep, yes caffeine stays in your system quite a while! If you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up use Nootropics.
Caffeine and L-Theanine is regarded as one of the most efficacious Nootropic combinations. A 2010 Dutch human study, The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness, suggested consuming Caffeine and L-Theanine in approximately a 2:1 ratio.
From it’s abstract:
“The combination of moderate levels of L-theanine and caffeine significantly improved accuracy during task switching and self-reported alertness… and reduced self-reported tiredness… There were no significant effects on other cognitive tasks, such as visual search, choice reaction times, or mental rotation. The present results suggest that 97 mg of L-theanine in combination with 40 mg of caffeine helps to focus attention during a demanding cognitive task.”
The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective…
Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec;13(6):283–90. doi: 10.1179/147683010X12611460764840. Randomized Controlled Trial; Research…
This stack is one of my favorites and I consistently start my mornings like this…
- The Umami taste of the green tea actually takes improves the bitter taste of the coffee.
- Green tea has a subtle anxiolytic effect that is synergistic with the coffee.
- Green tea is something of a creativity stimulator, so the two together are a great writing stack (if I want to take this to the next level I will add some supplemental liquid Nicotine)
The two together make me clear headed and motivated.
Again, the main rule with coffee is to avoid the crappy stuff. If you’re going to drink it spend a little more on premium, organic toxin free stuff. Cost: $15 — $19 monthly
Upgraded Coffee Is Unlike Anything You've Tried $18.95 Standard-size 3/4 lb. (.35 Kilograms) Bag $75.00 5 lb. Bag When…
If you’re depressed you really probably shouldn’t be drinking. Often those dealing with depression self medicate with alcohol because it’s a cheap, fast working mood enhancer but methodical research indicates that alcohol consumption worsens depression.
Depression in patients with alcohol use disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis of outcomes…
J Affect Disord. 2015 Oct 1;185:47-59. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.06.024. Epub 2015 Jun 23. Meta-Analysis; Review
In terms of health, alcohol has no redeeming features. It’s bad news all around. Even a single drink hurts sleep quality.
But some of us will decide to drink nonetheless. I rarely drink but when I do I Biohack boozing by taking…
Is extremely popular and increasingly accessible and legal but it’s a very problematic weed for those who are depressed to indulge in. A recent meta analysis that looked at human studies totaling over 75,000 people concluded…
Cannabis use, and particularly heavy cannabis use, may be associated with an increased risk for developing depressive disorders.
The association between cannabis use and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of…
Psychol Med. 2014 Mar;44(4):797-810. doi: 10.1017/S0033291713001438. Meta-Analysis; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't…
Another recent meta analysis of 267 studies found a worrying connection between marijuana and anxiety…
Anxiety is positively associated with cannabis use or [cannabis use disorders] in cohorts drawn from some 112,000 non-institutionalised members of the general population of 10 countries.
A positive association between anxiety disorders and cannabis use or cannabis use disorders in the…
Keywords: Anxiety disorders, Cannabis use, Cannabis use disorders (dependence, abuse), Systematic review, Meta-analysis…
If you want something to relax you at the end of the day — there’s a lot better options out there than smoking weed; herbal adaptogens, meditation, yoga and even CBD oil which can help with depression and is not intoxicating or habit forming.
Studies on CBD and Depression
A collection of published research articles and other educational resources about depression and CBD (cannabidiol).
The Psychedelic Question
Thanks to Joe Rogan and different counter-culture personalities psychedelics have become very popular. You’ve probably heard about them and are curious if a psychedelic trip or ceremony could be a shortcut mental health.
I remain a bit skeptical of psychedelics as a true tool for overcoming depression and personal development because that effect from them is so inconsistent. Sometimes people do have an amazingly transformative experience and gain some deep insight but a lot of times it’s just a recreational experience and of course there’s always that chance of a terrifying bad trip.
People have asked me…
Jonathan I’ve heard all these fantastic stories about psychedelics, how they change people’s outlook on life or help them get over addictions. Are psychedelics Nootropics?
I’ve not researched them as thoroughly as other Nootropics and biohacking technology but based upon perusal of the state of the psychedelic art research and human trials I’m going to say no.
While you could spend literally years (or decades) listening to all the podcasts singing the praises of psychedelics there’s good evidence for remaining skeptical of them.
- MAPS.org is the top resource for scientific study of psychedelics. The vast majority of the human research showing a positive result of using them is in trials involving addicts or those suffering from PTSD, the clinical evidence of them helping depressed or otherwise healthy people is scant.
- Pubmed lists no human clinical trials with a follow up investigation where a positive effect was noted on memory or cognition, which in contrast you can certainly find for Nootropics.
- Some research indicates impairments of memory and mental functions while dosed which is kind of what you would expect.
- The closest thing to research I could find on positive effects on personal transformation was two studies done in 2017. The first was done Assessing the Psychedelic “After-Glow” in Ayahuasca Users at the University of Barcelona which showed sustained elevations in nonjudging 2 months later in a five facet mindfulness questionnaire. The second, Effect of Psilocybin on Empathy and Moral Decision-Making interestingly found that Psilocybin significantly increased emotional, but not cognitive empathy and In contrast, moral decision-making remained unaffected by psilocybin. These studies would seem to confirm the stereotype of the hippy-dippy wu-wu psychedelic lover but don’t provide much evidence of them as transformational tools like mindfulness or brain training.
- There’s this rather terrifying phenomena of Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder which means that auditory and visual hallucinations persist after a psychedelic experience for days, weeks or longer. And it doesn’t just happen to hardcore psychonauts who are using excessive amounts of drugs and having jarring bad trips. It can happen after just one trip. There are over 40 science papers documenting HPPD so it’s not exactly a fringe phenomena.
I did a 15-hour Ayahuasca ceremony myself in the Andes mountains a few years back and I found the experience totally underwhelming. I was hoping for some great insight into the challenges I faced and my inner battles. Despite my openness to epiphany and proper preparation for the experience (abstaining from alcohol and strong food for about a week before the ceremony) it was a totally non-transformative event. Don’t get me wrong; I thoroughly enjoyed the music, dancing, discussion and fellowship of the event but I experienced nothing inspirational, divine or metaphysical. After drinking two cups of Ayahuasca I just meditated by a fire under the stars for a few hours until the sun came up, which was certainly special but I think I could have actually gotten more transformation bang for my self exploration buck if I had instead spent that time journaling, doing talk therapy with a professional or just hitting the gym.
I lived for several years in South America and knew a lot of people who experimented with and used psychedelics. Very few of them grew personally as a result of using psychedelics. Most of these people were honestly just lazy losers, alcoholics, and drug addicts who fooled themselves that they were doing something meaningful with their lives by drifting aimlessly around underdeveloped countries. The only epiphany they ever experienced from doing psychedelics was that they should do MORE psychedelics.
Although, you do hear a lot of encouraging stories of people overcoming addictions or self-destructive mindsets as a result of using psychedelics. If it interests you, try it. But as the ayahuasqueros themselves would tell you don’t go into the experience with high expectations.
There’s also some risk in the psychedelic ceremonies themselves. A very free spirited woman I met many years ago in South America was heinously attacked and murdered during a ceremony in Ecuador. This was not an isolated incident, every year a handful of psychedelic tourists die during ceremonies in dangerous, undeveloped countries and you can find numerous examples of pseudo-spiritual psychedelic gurus abusing their followers while they are most vulnerable under the influence of drugs.
Psychedelics don’t belong in the same risk-reward category as Nootropics, Mindfulness or diet hacking.
I came across a single notable study of Psilocybin vs Depression
12 patients (six men, six women) with moderate-to-severe, unipolar, treatment-resistant major depression… Depressive symptoms were assessed with standard assessments from 1 week to 3 months after treatment… Relative to baseline, depressive symptoms were markedly reduced 1 week … and 3 months… after high-dose treatment. Marked and sustained improvements in anxiety and anhedonia were also noted.
This is an encouraging preliminary study but the sample size of 12 patients is quite small. I consider psychedelics a high risk, dubious reward last resort treatment option for treatment resistant depression, there’s a lot of better, more proven solutions to try before you put the psychedelic bullet in the revolver, spin the chamber and play russian roulette with the chance of a bad trip or HPPD.
Fitness is obviously important. Getting even a little bit of exercise weekly improves your cognition, productivity and mood. If you don’t exercise at all regularly and you’re on the depression spectrum you really don’t need to go see a shrink or read another self help book. You need to exercise.
I’m not going to recommend some arbitrary amount of exercise weekly; as a rule aim to do something about three times a week that gets you sweaty.
- Cardio — Just 15 minutes of cardio increases Mitochondrial density and output. I find that just a little cardio improves my cognitive baseline, mood and verbal intelligence for several hours.
- HIIT — High-intensity interval training can be an ideal time saving exercise lifehack for staying healthy, vigorous and lean. Dave Asprey, the godfather of Biohacking, describes why this is such a quintessential exercise lifehack…
HIIT workouts alternate between intense bursts of strenuous exercise and brief periods of active rest.
HIIT subjects your muscles and cardiovascular system to extreme stress and then allows them to recover during the “active rest” period. This active rest period keeps your heart rate elevated so that you can still reap the rewards of aerobic exercise. It’s the happy marriage of two schools of fitness thought, and it might be more effective than either resistance or aerobic exercise alone. In fact, studies have shown that HIIT is up to ten times more effective at increasing growth hormone than resistance training or endurance training. (pp. 194–195)
- Body weight exercises — Often you may not have the time or access to a gym to exercise but you can always do some body weight exercises. Check out this playlist. Unfortunately many of us spend years of our lives sitting in front of a computer, every 60–90 minutes try to remember to get up for a minute or two — great time to do some body weight exercises! You may be surprised that this increases baseline energy levels throughout the day.
Nootropics for Depression
The Nootropics discussed in the chapter Biohacking is the Gamechanger make a big difference in depression! They feed your brain and neurobiology a lot of the molecular building blocks needed for proper neurological function, especially…
Blood Panels and Hormonal Testing
Again, depression is caused by the corporeal mechanics of your biology, not demons, bad karma or some other metaphysical force. Blood panels and hormonal testing that a doctor or lab can provide you can give tremendous insight into the chemical imbalances causing the depression.
There’s kind of two approaches to depression
- The low hanging fruit — Clean up your diet, exercise, mindfulness and supplementation of Nootropics and crucial vitamins. Often several months of disciplined biohacking like this will fix your depression.
- Testing — If your depression is treatment resistant spend a couple hundred bucks getting tested. It will reveal some fundamental deficiency, low testosterone or heavy metal toxicity. Then you can take specific steps to address that.
As discussed in the previous chapter, chronic tech addiction has a long term effect on our minds similar to a heroin addiction. If you’re spending +8 hours a day staring at screens, make an effort to spend time outside in the real world, interacting with real people and implement the Brain Rehab Protocol detailed.
While you don’t have to ice your gonads like competitive Russian power lifters do cold showers are a lifehack practiced consistently by high performers. The science is a little unclear as to whether it actually increases testosterone but the effects that numerous Biohackers report are analogous to raised testosterone.
- It improves mood and anxiety.
- It helps with weight loss.
- It increases libido.
Start by just doing 30 seconds of cold water at the beginning of a normal shower, your first few cold showers will be mild water torture — it will make you very uncomfortable — but quickly you’ll get used to them. Eventually you want to work your way up to a minute or two of cold water. I find just standing there shivering mentally tortuous so instead occupy yourself with something that’s going to take a minute or two; like brushing your teeth!
The up tick in testosterone benefits ladies as well, they won’t grow beards or big muscles, but it will improve their mood and energy levels.
A side benefit is that you shower a whole lot quicker, you really won’t waste time lingering in the shower.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
If you live somewhere in the world with four seasons you’ve probably experienced this. During the cold season you’ll notice your motivation and mood is lagging, you’ll sleep more and maybe gain some weight, this has a very apt name — seasonal affective disorder.
- Vitamin D3 — You probably spend less time outside when it’s cold and get a lot less sunlight. This deprives you of crucial Vitamin D. Biohackers try to supplement 5000 IU daily, during the winter time you may want to take up to 8000 IU to ward off the S.A.D. To maximize this effect take it with Vitamin K2 and Vitamin A.
- Sunlight — If you can bundle up and get 10–15 minutes of sunlight during those short winter days, it will make that Vitamin D3 all the more effective. If you can’t you may want to consider a tanning salon membership or investing in an ultraviolet-B light.
Intermittent Antidepressive Meditation
There’s a lot of Biohacks for beating S.A.D but one mindfulness lifehack that anybody can do anytime is intermittent antidepressant meditation and it really is effective at improving your mood. It also goes by the name loving — kindness meditation; which I think is a really bad name! It makes it sound like a girly, wimpy thing and it’s not! It’s actually a quite effective tool for managing your thoughts and emotions.
This is something I learned about in Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
to increase your happiness, all you have to do is randomly wish for somebody else to be happy. (p. 158)
I tend to do a single 3- to 5-minute session at night, thinking of three people I want to be happy, often two current friends and one old friend I havent seen in years. (p. 159)
One woman reported
Happiest day in 7 years. And what did it take to achieve that? It took 10 seconds of secretly wishing for two other people to be happy for 8 repetitions, a total of 80 seconds of thinking. (p. 158)
This is an intermittent meditation method, you do it for just seconds every hour and it has a real antidepressant effect. You can spend a few minutes in the evening doing it but I find it’s most effective if I aim to spend 10 seconds every hour — which may sound difficult to remember to do. My reminder is to just do it every time I go to the bathroom which is about once an hour because I drink a lot of water and tea — there’s a lifehack!
If you’re a male and you’re depressed (even a little) STOP masturbating to porn. Amazingly, a lot of men for some reason think that it’s not unhealthy to masturbate to porn daily or weekly.
I’m not suggesting that you puritanically abstain from porn forever, I don’t have a moral problem with porn or even prostitution.
If you want to significantly improve your mood and energy levels lay off the porn for in between 2 weeks to several months. This is one of the very most effective biohacks for men. The next chapter will go deep into the subject of harnessing and channeling male sexual energy…
- The advice for depression that you’ll find online in self help forums or in pop psychology is quite bad. Depression is simply a manifestation of chemical imbalances.
- Really overcoming depression is going to require between several months to a year of disciplined, concerted effort.
- Get all the crap out of your diet. The Keto or Paleo style diet in combination with daily fasting will optimize your health and mindset.
- Exercise is crucial. Do some exercise that gets you sweaty about three times weekly.
- Nootropics are a shortcut for hacking depression. Combine them with the other lifehacks like cold showers, mindfulness and no fap.
- Alcohol, weed and narcotic drugs are not a good idea for the depressed.
- Be wary of seasonal affective disorder — Supplement Vitamin D3 and get some extra sunlight to prevent it.
- First implement all the common sense, low hanging fruit biohacks — if you don’t overcome depression with these get blood and hormone tests done by a doctor to identify chemical imbalances.