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How to Feel Less Stressed and Less Sad

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There’s no doubt an increasing amount of anxiety and depression in our modern world. This is partly because the standard combination of pharmaceutical drugs and mainstream psychology struggles to work. Fortunately, there are other ways though.

Before I get into how, let’s discuss why the drugs and psychs aren’t doing what they say they will. To use a pharmacological example, the anti-depressant drugs that the corporate-based, medical-industrial complex prescribes for society are designed to increase the levels of serotonin in the body. Yet as discussed in this Huffington Post article, that entire theory might be invalid:

Andrews surveyed 50 years’ worth of research supporting the serotonin theory of depression, which suggests that the disease is caused by low levels of the “happiness” neurotransmitter, serotonin.

But Andrews argues that depression may actually be caused by elevated levels of serotonin. And this fundamental misunderstanding may be responsible for inappropriate treatment.

Even if increasing serotonin was the right approach, it’s only a temporary support mechanism whilst psycho-social and physiological measures are put into place to actually resolve the problem permanently. In other words, these drugs don’t cure anything. What will cure it is holistically addressing the issues in our neurological, digestive, environmental and philosophical realms. This in turn can emancipate us from our depression, anxiety and an array of other mental and emotional ills.

For example, anxiety and depression appear to be linked to poor gut health. This is definitely not the only reason why people feel stressed and sad, yet it is basic instinct to recognize that a toxic diet which causes a toxic digestive system certainly makes it more challenging to feel good.

As stated in this article:

Micro-organisms in our gut secrete a profound number of chemicals, and researchers like Lyte have found that among those chemicals are the same substances used by our neurons to communicate and regulate mood, like dopamine, serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These, in turn, appear to play a function in intestinal disorders, which coincide with high levels of major depression and anxiety.

And as explained in this article:

Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases as well as with cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2-diabetes and also cancer, in which chronic low-grade inflammation is a significant contributing factor. Thus researchers suggested “depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome.”

The addictive and health-deteriorating substance called sugar has also been linked to depressive psychological states. It’s no wonder either when it has been scientifically shown to light up the same regions of the brain as cocaine and heroin. As expressed in the same article:

It’s become increasingly clear that one route by which sugar is so detrimental to your mental health is because sugar consumption triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. Further, excess sugar and fructose will distort the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut, which also plays an integral role in your mental health. Sugar does this by serving as a fertilizer/fuel for pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungi that negatively inhibit the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

On a positive side-note, this article indicates how to make our digestive system healthier:

A new study from England found that supplements that boost “good” bacteria in the gut (called “prebiotics”) may alter the way people process emotional information, suggesting that changes in gut bacteria may have anti-anxiety effects.

In terms of our environmental stimuli, our external circumstances are highly influential when it comes to our sense of well-being and the way we behave. When discussed in the context of addiction, the old idea that ‘drugs cause addiction’ dissolves and the new approach becomes ‘challenging environments amplify addictive behavior’. One such study with rats reinforces this idea here:

The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

There is no doubt that an unhealthy environment – including poor parental, interpersonal, financial and societal circumstances – all contribute to our state of being, but why can some people exposed to poverty and other harsh realities still manage to be relatively happy?

Moreover, why aren’t all people with unhealthy guts experiencing depression and/or anxiety? What are the other reasons why so many people are subjected to these ongoing states of suffering?

It’s not just the outside of us which comprises our environment, our inner realm is just as much as part of it too. This includes our physical design, such as our neurology, and our mental design, such as our beliefs and philosophies.

That’s why if we truly want to overcome our states of suffering, we need to go back to the way we’re wired neurologically and the way we’re constructed conceptually. The wiring in our body-brain is an interconnected network that not just moves through our cerebral, digestive and heart brains, but also throughout our body in terms of cellular, molecular and atomic information-sharing and processing. These pathways and reference points are the physiological basis of our past – our memory – which in effect influences our present and future.

In other words, our traumas and other dysfunctions are hardwired through this network, leading to the continuation of past habits, including depressive and anxious responses to our world. So if we want to change a habit of say, poor resilience, we need to change ourselves on a physical level to ensure sustained behavioral change.

So then, how exactly do we do that? Enter philosophy and action. The way we conceptualize reality, including our lives in detail, as well as the choices we make which determine our behavior, directly impacts the neurological pathways and connections in our body, especially over time.

I can’t emphasize how important this point is. Just like our physical layer influences our mental experience, the way we construct our internal world of ideas, concepts and beliefs inevitably has an impact on our body-brain. If we consistently and repeatedly force a new way of thinking and feeling onto our bodily system, it will respond and adapt accordingly without fail.

A good analogy I like to use when describing this is when you create a new path through the forest. The old walkway is obvious and therefore easy to navigate through, but a new one isn’t. Over considerable time walking the new path it will inescapably become as easy to navigate as the original one.

Therefore, when we change our internal dialogue, our neurology and other physiology changes with it.

That’s why it’s seriously important to consciously design our philosophies and actions i.e. what we believe, how we think, the decisions we make, which ways we behave etc. We should always be asking ourselves: is our internal design beneficial to our mental and emotional health? Does it translate into productive, functional and beneficial behaviors? Is our conscious and subconscious awareness healthy for our physical apparatus, or does it impact negatively on our body-brain?

Final Thoughts

If you’re personally stuck in a rut with anxiety, depression or other forms of mental and physical health issues, taking a holistic approach to resolving them is the only way. Just changing what we eat, or just thinking more positively, isn’t going to cut it; it needs to a full spectrum response over a significant course of time if we really want to redesign our mind/body connection in a more productive and desirable way.

To do so, we must face ourselves on every level. This includes our interpersonal, physical, emotional, philosophical, psychological, behavioral, sexual and spiritual health, as well as how they all interrelate and dance with each other.

And we also need to respect the emotional roller-coaster we call life and navigate our way through the happiness and sadness with as much peace and contentment as we can can.

Ultimately, keep your chin up; we’ve all had not-so wise influences throughout our upbringing and within society in general, so we all need to go through various phases of unlearning and relearning. It might take a while to implement hard-wired, habitual and sustained changes that are valuable for our overall health, but with enough commitment, courage and creativity, it’s achievable for all of us.

Much love, Phil…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phillip J. Watt lives on the Mid North Coast of NSW Australia. His written and film work deals with topics from ideology to society, as well as self-development. Follow him on Facebook, watch his interviews with an array of inspiring guests at his YouTube Channel or visit his website.

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Awareness

3 Reasons Why Introverts Are Undervalued in Today’s Society

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introverts undervalued society

It’s undeniable that our society favors assertive extroverted personalities with strong communication skills and underestimates the quiet ones. If you are an introvert, you have probably learned it the hard way.

It could be that you felt unseen in the classroom as a child or teen. Or you may have watched your less competent co-workers get a promotion thanks to their social skills.

It feels unfair, but if you think about our society, it makes perfect sense. The consumerist mindset that has become our second nature inevitably affects the way we treat other people. It seems that everything, including our personal qualities and worth as human beings, is translated into some kind of market value.

In other words, to make other people see your worth in personal or professional life, you need to be able to ‘sell yourself’. Yes, this expression alone tells it all.

You need to know how to make a good first impression, say the right things, and be assertive. If you can’t do it, you are perceived as incapable and uninteresting – whether we are talking about a job interview or an informal social gathering.

But it’s not the only reason why introverts are undervalued in our society. Here are a few more:

1. They are less efficient in teamwork

Communication and teamwork skills are required for all kinds of jobs. It seems that without being able to work in a team, it’s impossible to do your job even if your duties don’t involve interaction with clients.

Introverts are much more efficient when they work on their own and are given a certain extent of independence. They thrive in quiet environments with few distractions and interactions. This is when a quiet person gets the chance to unleash their creative self and make good use of their analytical skills.

Most office jobs don’t give employees this opportunity. Office meetings, group projects, phone calls and all the other attributes of a 9-to-5 job make it almost impossible for an introvert to be productive.

2. They don’t like to be in the spotlight

Sometimes it feels like we are living in a society of attention seekers. Today, you are expected to go public about the most personal matters, such as your relationship and family life.

People share their most intimate thoughts and feelings on social media, post updates about the most trivial events, such as what they had for dinner, and upload countless selfies.

Introverts are among those who still value privacy. They are less likely to showcase their lives online or share the details of their personal affairs with the whole world.

At the same time, the quiet ones don’t like to be in the spotlight at social events. An introvert will never interrupt you. They will listen to you and talk only when they have something important to say. This tendency to avoid attention can be mistaken for insecurity and even a lack of intelligence.

3. They prefer to be real than to be ‘nice’

If you want to make a good impression on others, you are expected to be nice. But what does it mean to be ‘nice’ anyway?

In an introvert’s mind, it equals saying things you don’t mean. Quiet personalities will never bombard you with compliments or say meaningless social pleasantries just to win your fondness. But if an introvert said something nice to you, then be sure that they truly meant it.

Small talk is another component of social relationships most introverts struggle with. To them, it embodies utterly dull, uncomfortable, and pointless conversations they can perfectly do without. For this reason, introverts are often mistakenly believed to hate people.

The truth is that they don’t – they just crave stimulating, meaningful conversations and choose their social circle more carefully than extroverts.

In my book, The Power of Misfits: How to Find Your Place in a World You Don’t Fit In, I write about the reasons why so many introverts feel inadequate and alienated from other people in today’s society. It all goes down to social expectations this personality type has to deal with from a very early age.

But the good news is that every introvert can overcome the negative effects of these expectations and find the right path in this loud, extroverted world.

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Activism

The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix

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esoteric meaning neo interrogation matrix

More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.

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One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.

Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.

What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?

Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.

What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?

Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.

The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening

With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.

You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.

Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies

Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.

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The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.

The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.

This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.

Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.

Imaginary Rights

Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”

To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.

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This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.

In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.

We Must Start With the Imagination

There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.

Wake Up Neo — You Are the One

Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.

Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”

This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.

By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.

If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?

Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com

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All my work is open source and I encourage it to be reproduced. I only ask that you give me credit, and include links to follow me — as listed in the EXACT FORMAT above — in an effort to help me build a formidable following of people truly intent on learning and creating positive change. If you are not willing to do that, you are NOT permitted to use my work.

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This Clever & Controversial Artwork Will Help You Think Deeper About Society

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True artists are what I view as the antithesis of entertainers…

You see, an entertainer is concerned with popular opinion and giving the public what it wants to see. They intoxicate us with mindless amusements to help us escape reality and the everyday stresses of life. But artists, on the other hand, they give us what we need to see; by challenging us to to think deeper about the nature of reality, and the society in which we live, and they do this through the transcendent language of art.

With that said, I decided to collect some of the most thought provoking artwork from around the internet and offered my own little commentary on them…

Some people are hungry for food — Some people are just hungry for attention/Artist credit: Sergio Ingravalle

We are all so blinded by our ignorance and rage, that while we blame each other for our mutual struggles like fools, we’re ultimately getting screwed by the same elitists/Artist Credit: Lubomir Arsov

Be very wary my friend, clever predators always position themselves in places where they have easy access to their prey/Artist credit: Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

We don't want to see the Truth, we want to see illusions that comfort us

Despite what they might say, most people don’t actually want to see a reflection of reality — and therefore the Truth — Most people just want to see a narrow minded illusion that comforts their sensitive ego and impulsive feelings/Artist credit: Angel Boligán Corbo

Social Distancing = Social Isolation

Everyone talks about how social distancing saves lives, but why’s no one talking about the science that shows how social isolation can also destroy also them??/Artist credit: Steve Cutts

Although they might appear different on the surface, what we find through media monopolization, is that they are often times steered by the same controlling force/Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

“There is no greater disease than fear, and there is no greater danger than those who weaponize it against us.” — Gavin Nascimento/Artist Credit: Lubomir Arsov

Thinking happy thoughts doesn't change reality

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” — Attributed to Pericles/Artist credit: Mana Neyestani

The “Beauty” Industry…/Artist Credit: Lubomir Arsov

Feed your child with knowledge and watch them grow/Artist credit: Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

You cannot ever hope to expect justice from those who have a consistent history of oppressing you./Artist credit: Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

Fighting Fake News or Censorship?

Is Facebook really fighting fake news or are they engaging in authoritarianism and censorship?/Artist credit: Luis Quiles

In a society as toxic as ours — where a climate of hatred, ignorance and fear insidiously infects the bulk of the population — In order to safeguard our health and wellbeing, we must stay connected to whatever it is that gives us an authentic sense of peace/Artist credit: Paweł Kuczyński (Online Store)

In spite of overwhelming historical evidence proving powerful people have engaged in child sex abuse, and it occurs in the shadows of every element and class of society, many of us pretend not to see, which is a shameful betrayal of our children/Artist credit: Lubomir Arsov

Peaceful Revolution or Violent... you choose.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” — Attributed to John F. Kennedy/Artist credit: Mana Neyestani

Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com

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If any of the images in this article have not been credited correctly, or you are the artist and would like them to be taken down, please contact me HERE

All my work is open source and I encourage it to be reproduced. I only ask that you give me credit, and include my social media profiles — as listed in the EXACT FORMAT above — in an effort to help me build a formidable following of people truly intent on learning and creating positive change. If you are not willing to do that, you are NOT permitted to use my work.

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