Saturday, 30 November 2013

The right way to acquire a solid self-confidence. Quick relief for stress, anxiety, and depression. A proven method for increasing your happiness and personal growth

Culture and fashion are calls for conformity. Relinquishing individual thinking and embracing a standard lifestyle bring enormous advantages. They save you time when it comes to taking decisions. They spare you embarrassment when it comes to disguising the truth.

The right way to acquire a solid self-confidence

The opposite side is filled by non-conformity, which is just a different sort of style. Holidays are not spent on the beach, but practising dangerous sports. Hobbies do not include watching movies, but wandering in the tropical forest. Clothes, instead of well-fitting and colourful, are torn and monochrome.

You can choose either way to fill your years, not with happiness, but with souvenirs. Imitating someone else's pictures is not the way to create great paintings. Adopting values that make no sense will not move you forward nor render your feelings more intense. Downtrodden tracks lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. For sure, that is not a path you want to take.

Quick relief for stress, anxiety, and depression

There is an alternative, the same that has always worked. You don't need to spend your days wondering which fashion leads to less dismay. Wisdom does not entail rejecting principles that are preached, but comparing them with reason, and selecting those that work.

Individuality can only draw meaning from private reflection. Sound choices are the result of man's logical evaluation of the world. Before we start to compose our own song, we must allow our mind to filter out random noise. These are my three suggestions about how to move from inherited values to consistency with reality:

First, stop believing in myths: Neither specific clothes, nor gadgets, nor locations lead to happiness. The majority might bestow moral credibility to arbitrary standards, but you are not obliged to buy in. The idea that things have to be done in one specific way is, more often than not, false. Shun rigidity and look around for original answers.

A proven method for increasing your happiness and personal growth

Second, abandon contradictory goals: Irrationality is synonymous with inconsistency. False ideas conflict with facts and with each other. Anxiety is the mark of those who move at random, without destination. Animals do not need perspective, but humans do. Drop ideas that do not make sense and rebuild your thinking structure.

Third, determine your direction: Universal principles can be distilled from observation, but each has a myriad of different applications. The law of cause and effect drives all existence, but your context is unique. No one can tell you how to lead your life best. Let your reason establish your ambitions and priorities. This is a proven method for increasing your happiness and personal growth.

Realize that the short-term contentment of imitation adds little worth to your experience and much expense to you detriment. Shrug your shoulders at unrealistic advice and ignore insincere invitations. Happiness calls for stable purpose and continuous action. Choose the way of reason.


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Friday, 29 November 2013

What to do to keep your peace of mind in all circumstances. Getting rid of stress, worry, and irritation. What you need to know about self-confidence. Do this and you will accelerate your personal growth

You cannot drive a car without traffic signs, a map, or at the very least, knowing where you want to go. A sense of direction allows man to make decisions, assess costs, trade off alternatives, and maintain his keep of mind in all circumstances.

What to do to keep your peace of mind in all circumstances

Most people are aware of the importance of setting goals in life, but in order to avoid losing motivation, it is crucial to keep your objectives visible to yourself. There are four reasons for that:

First, long-term thinking requires sustained effort: Without reflection and concentration, human life tends to decay into a succession of events without order nor enjoyment. 

Using your days wisely and making the best of your life is impossible without long-term thinking. Keeping your major objectives in front of your eyes enables you to steer out of time-wasters and keep your serenity.

Getting rid of stress, worry, and irritation

Second, the most scarce resource is invisible: Time continues to flow whether we have a great life or not. In the end, our days will be gone anyway. The question is how to live them in the best possible way without stress, worry, and irritation.

Happiness is never automatic. It requires thinking, goals, action, and progress. Keeping your dreams visible makes you aware of the passage of time and prompts you to move in your chosen direction.

What you need to know about self-confidence

Third, self-confidence wins over random noise: Daily events are meaningless without perspective. In addition, the random noise of nihilism and nonsense tends to discourage clear thinking. Maintaining a list of your goals in a visible place helps you ignore the noise of the world. 

Knowing where you are going is a fundamental element of self-confidence. It allows you to discard what cannot work and persist in what will. Only by ignoring noise can we put our energies to good use.

Do this and you will accelerate your personal growth

Fourth, steady progress is a major achievement: The term success is frequently attributed only to spectacular victories. On the other hand, one should never forget that, behind every major achievement, there are years of preparation and relentless action. 

Place your long-term goals where you can see them everyday. That is the best manner to remind yourself that something needs to be done right now in order to keep advancing towards your objectives. This is also the best way to accelerate your personal growth.

You cannot reach your destination without a plan, a list of actions, and the will to correct mistakes as they happen. Long-term goals allow man to evaluate alternatives, discard wasteful undertakings, and learn from experience. 

Setting goals in life is essential, but without constant action, little will be achieved. Keeping objectives present in our mind is what enables us to align present reality with future achievement.


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Thursday, 28 November 2013

How to avoid creating stress and anxiety for yourself. If you try to ignore the truth, worry and depression will be the most likely results. The rule of thumb for success and personal growth

Most business books revolve around a single idea that is presented from different angles. The same goes for many scientific essays, which tend to be longer, but contain few new ideas. Occasionally, hundreds of pages will be devoted to justifying points which readers might find self-evident.

How to avoid creating stress and anxiety for yourself

Darwin's volume on the origin of species was the result of ten years of study and reflection. He actually wrote several outlines before he got down to drafting the book itself. The text, which you will need hours to read, contains dozens of elaborate descriptions and examples. Nonetheless, the message of the book can be summarized on a single page.

My message is not a call for brevity, but for realism. There is a reason why apparently simple ideas require a long exposition. Authors of those books are, for the most part, neither foolish nor focused on selling overblown banalities. Certainly, that was not the case of Charles Darwin.

If you try to ignore the truth, worry and depression will be the most likely results

A high dose of realism is the rationale for the extensive treatment of subjects. On the same grounds, engineers take safety margins when they design a new bridge, a ship, or an aeroplane. The truth known by every conscientious professional is that failure lurks around every corner. For sculptors, poets, and performers of all sorts, failure is called rejection. If you try to ignore the statistical truth, you will create plenty of stress, anxiety, worry, and depression for yourself.

Romantic movies paint situations where chance aligns all factors for success. A happy end ensues as protagonists collect their dues without effort and against all odds. Fiction of the worst kind renders credibility to fantasy, leading readers to feel dejected by reality and disappointed by life. This is something that you want to avoid.

You will much better off if you face obstacles using reason and experience as your allies. This is what skilled entrepreneurs do. Whether you take up playing golf or acting, you'd better prepare yourself for strenuous practice and open criticism.

The rule of thumb for success and personal growth

In difficult undertakings, your efforts might remain only moderately effective for an extended period of time and rightly so. Lengthy expositions acknowledge the fact that even simple ideas will be misunderstood by many people. TV advertisers address their commercials to millions, knowing that the great majority won't buy their products.

The rule of thumb for personal growth is that most things won't work, and that most attempts won't result in success. Rejection and miscommunication are not exceptions, but everyday events. Face negative results and use wisdom to deal with them. Great ambitions are never easily accomplished. Achieving them requires effort and patience. Those are the two elements you need. Take both and move on.


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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Rational decisions are impossible without reference to price. What is proper and affordable in some circumstances becomes ridiculously expensive in others. Price ignorance inevitably leads to stress and anxiety

"Inquiring about prices is sinful," wrote scholar Hugh of St. Victor in the year 1130 C.E., "since it only serves to aid the vice of avarice." The medieval mind saw the world as immobile and human beings as passive spectators. Life was something that happened to you. Silent acceptance was regarded as a virtue. 

Rational decisions are impossible without reference to price

Nine centuries have gone by. The universe has not changed, but we have erred and learned. In our age, looking up prices occupies a good part of our time. We cut off coupons from newspapers and compare discounts from car dealers. We listen to commercials on the radio and participate in auction sales.

Our activities have taken a new course, but to a certain extent, our thinking remains anchored in the Middle Ages. Reflect for a minute and count the people you know who actively pursue price information in their endeavours and act consistently on that knowledge.

How long is your list of those who look around and compare offers? What percentage of men and women carefully assess cost before making decisions? If you write down names, chances are that they will be few, since whole segments of the population prefer to ignore price information. Let me name just three examples.

First, children are foreign to cost considerations, since their priority is to have everything right now, irrespective of the price. Instilling sound economic judgement should be one of the objectives of a good education. Psychological growth demands perception of the bond between effort and reward.

Second, smokers must be also excluded from any list of cost-conscious individuals. How many of them are unaware of their increased health risks? Anyone who watches television or reads newspapers can hardly claim ignorance of the massive cost of cancer treatment.

Third, complainers spend their days deploring problems which, on closer examination, could have been easily avoided by looking at the market. Depressed prices or exaggerated valuations do not prompt rational men to lamentation, but to cautious action.

What is proper and affordable in some circumstances becomes ridiculously expensive in others

Acquiring consciousness of prices is part of becoming an adult. Irrationality makes people despondent, leading them to sell their property at reduced prices. Obsession deprives men of understanding, inducing them to pay too much for fashion. Price ignorance inevitably leads to stress and anxiety.

Fear cannot justify foolishness. Conformity cannot excuse willingness to delude ourselves or the world. Ignorance is unacceptable when knowledge is freely available. Wisdom begins with consciousness of our environment. For products, services, or convictions, there cannot be valid advice without reference to price.


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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

If one road is blocked, take another. How to keep calm when you are surrounded by nonsense. Adopt a realistic and practical approach. Conflicting values lead to contradictory behaviour

The 10 Principles of Rational Living
by John Vespasian 

In order to improve your life, you don't need to place your hopes on a lottery ticket or wait for the world to grant you the perfect opportunity. There is a better way and it is condensed in the principles of rational living, principles such as “think like an entrepreneur, not like a crusader,” “ignore the noise and focus on results,” “stay away from high-risk situations,” “find people who share your values,” and “develop strong long-term passions.” 

This book presents the principles of rational living in great detail, with numerous examples of people who have applied them successfully. The principles of rational living are sound ideas that can dramatically improve your life. Learn all about them and start applying them today.


1. Think like an entrepreneur, not like a crusader
A recipe for getting ahead in good and bad times
Debating and arguing are a waste of time
The true believer is the one who preaches by example
Entrepreneurs thrive on trouble and inconvenience
Unlike resources, opportunities are infinite

2. Ignore the noise and focus on results
If one road is blocked, take another
How to keep calm when you are surrounded by nonsense
The effective way to handle work overload
Learning from people who never feel discouraged
A proven strategy against career stagnation

3. Live inexpensively and invest for future income
Why the stock market offers the best opportunities
Common traits of great businessmen and investors
What kind of companies should you invest in?
A simple strategy is all you need
Adopt a realistic and practical approach

4. Choose a simple and healthy lifestyle
Don't just eat well, eat wonderfully
What is healthy, tasty, and easy to cook?
How to reduce everyday risks to your health
Eating healthily when you are travelling
Is it possible to slow down ageing?
Why it is so difficult to lead a simple life

5. Find people who share your values
Why you should ignore most of what you hear
The ugly duckling story repeats itself every day
Overcoming the resistance to changing jobs and relocating
Don't be original, be unique
Proven strategies for building great relationships
Would you recognize yourself in the crowd?

6. Listen to your emotions, but check the facts
Beware of exaggerated romantic tales
In dating and cooking, choose natural ingredients
How far are you willing to go for happiness?
Conflicting values lead to contradictory behaviour
The short distance between infatuation and obfuscation
Do not waste your best years pursuing unworkable ideals

7. Accept the inevitable hassles of life
Putting an end to exaggerated fears
Extreme reactions are foolish and wasteful
In praise of caution and circumspection
Can you remain self-confident in times of trouble?
How impatient people become stoic philosophers
Never grant problems more weight than they deserve

8. Stay away from high-risk situations
Death statistics make great bedtime reading
Tranquillity seldom comes cheap
Do not make an obsession of the perfect profession
Three situations that you should avoid like the pest
Every archer needs more than one arrow
The jungle never sleeps

9. Acquire effective habits
An hour has sixty minutes, a day twenty-four hours
In praise of staying behind
How a proactive attitude helps you overcome difficulties
Let go of the dead weight of prejudice
Smooth operators get more out of life
Personal effectiveness depends on patterns

10. Develop strong long-term passions
Comparing yourself with other people makes no sense
Don't drink the poison of contradiction
What heroes are made of
The myths of the single skill and the unique opportunity
Become tolerant of mistakes, since you will make so many
The link between integrity and passion

The 10 Principles of Rational Living
by John Vespasian 

Monday, 25 November 2013

You don't have to work harder to achieve better results. The right way to deal with complexity and reduce your stress. How to keep your peace of mind in good and bad times

Energy is used most effectively when applied to a specific goal. Gasoline engines propel cars, but little is achieved by pouring fuel on the ground and setting it on fire. When coal stoves were still being used, most people preferred to heat one room in the house to a warm temperature rather than heat all rooms just a little bit.

You don't have to work harder to achieve better results

Nature demands neither concentration nor disaggregation of resources. Rivers that run in the same direction might merge their flows, but frequently, they don't. During a fire in the savannah, animals perfectly capable of running alone, join elephants in a stampede and get crushed every bone.

The capacity to determine goals and assess alternatives is uniquely human. Everyday, we make choices, hour by hour, selecting on each occasion the most advantageous option amongst the countless offered by life.

The right way to deal with complexity and reduce your stress

In order to reduce complexity, we try to automatize as many decisions as possible. When we drive to work, we usually take the same road. When we go out for dinner with friends, we often go to the same restaurant.

Routine works fine to get repetitive tasks done, but it cannot be trusted for life's fundamental choices. A woman seldom falls in love with a man just because he happens to be her neighbour. Students rarely decide to study medicine just because their dorm lies next to a hospital.

Making the right choices and following them through leads to happiness, barring cases of extreme bad luck and catastrophes. Who knows what he wants from life, has no difficulty making decisions and will rarely suffer from excessive stress. If consequences prove disappointing, he will simply rectify his mistake and move on.

How to keep your peace of mind in good and bad times

On the other hand, deciding on fundamental matters is hard for those who lack a clear vision of the future. Confronted with a multiplicity of paths, pilgrims always know what to ask, which is, for random walkers, an impossible task.

Unmade choices have devastating results. Anxiety and diffuse fear reign in the realm where all things are relative. Energy is consumed by doubt and half-hearted actions, wasted throughout. Without goals, there is no focus; without consistency, no resiliency to withstand even minor adversities.

Man needs stable convictions and non-contradictory personal objectives in order to live his days to the fullest. Otherwise, psychological disintegration will soon put an end to his every aspiration.

Sound design and dependable workmanship keep buildings in good shape for decades. Consistency of purpose provides the structure for a lifetime of happiness. Against tornadoes, wise men put up concrete walls; against indecision, long-term goals.


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Saturday, 23 November 2013

How to protect yourself from the stress of negative daily news. Practical measures to preserve your self-confidence. Do this and you will sharply reduce your worries. The unassuming way to peace of mind

Adults living in industrialized countries spend more than 300 hours per year watching news on television, listening to commentators on the radio, and reading newspapers. That time exceeds what they devote to reading books or acquiring knowledge in any other way.

How to protect yourself from the stress of negative daily news

The greatest part of the information that is absorbed during those hours consists of catastrophes, disruptions, violence, poverty, divorce, vengeance, dishonesty, criminality, incompetence, hostility, complaints, abuse, and decay.

In view of the messages that fill the airwaves and newspapers, it is no wonder that many people suffer from anxiety or depression. If a man is convinced that the overall situation is deteriorating and that he is doomed, he won't be motivated to improve his life.

Should reporters be blamed for the negative bias given to daily news? Is it not true that those are the sort of reports that people want to read? If television news focus on negative events, are they not responding to their audience? If debates on talk radio are conducted in a harsh tone, it is not because this is what listeners want?

The media deliver negative news to those who are thirsty for them. Depressing television programmes confirm the views of those who believe that man cannot improve his lot. Bitter discussions on talk-radio reinforce the listeners' conviction that life consists primarily of conflict.

Practical measures to preserve your self-confidence

Dispiriting messages attain their targets with the precision of a laser. No discouraging word is wasted and no gloomy prediction remains ignored. The machine that destroys hope and inspiration works with outstanding efficiency. You need to take practical measures to preserve your self-confidence.

Those who love dire forecasts expect to find them in the media. Those who want to hear about poverty and dereliction want television stations to cover those subjects. Those who believe that the next crisis is going to destroy the world expect their favourite talk-radio host to share that view.

Nevertheless, despite the massive barrage of depressing messages, other individuals remain unaffected by anxiety and depression. Instead of seeking out alarming news, these persons read newspapers sparingly. Instead of watching calamities on television, they prefer to devote their energies to improving their own lives.

How did this minority arrive at their independent thinking? What is the key behind their psychological stability? How can we protect our serenity against the negative bias of daily news? The following ideas can help you preserve your peace of mind:

First, transform risks into numbers: Most reported threats refer to events that, most likely, will never happen. For instance, every few years, newspapers discuss anew the possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth and killing millions of people.

Such calamity would be terrible, but you should not allow vague menaces to disrupt your tranquillity. Instead of losing sleep over risks, you should transform them into numbers or percentages. What are the actual chances of an asteroid hitting the town where you live? If the result of the calculation is one in a million, how much are you willing to worry?

Do this and you will sharply reduce your worries

Second, set a limit on damages: Companies operating in consumer markets inevitably incur risks of civil liability. If you deliver products to millions of people, an accident will occur sooner or later, for example due to the failure of an electrical component.

No one is exempt from occasional mistakes and this is why liability insurance exists. Entrepreneurs who wish to limit their risks can purchase insurance coverage so that, if the worst happens, their financial losses will be limited.

Similarly, if you live in an area with a high risk of floods, you should insure yourself against damages caused by water. The rational approach to dealing with potential catastrophes is to reduce risks. By setting a limit to damages, you can protect your peace of mind against gloomy forecasts aired by the media.

When commentators predict a stock market crash, you can protect yourself by converting part of your investments to cash or by purchasing other assets, such as gold or real estate, whose performance is not correlated to the price of shares. In general, if you set a cap on potential losses, you will be able to stop worrying about catastrophes.

Third, face problems by taking action: Uncertainty, more than any other factor, is what causes anxiety and fear. The feeling of not knowing what to do can render you insecure and lead you to make mistakes. Indecision causes physical tiredness and disrupts sleep at night. The solution is not to ignore risks, but to face them by taking action.

If your neighbourhood is becoming increasingly dangerous, you can choose between taking action or worrying yourself to death. Assess the problem and see what alternatives you have. Should you install an alarm system at home? Does the situation justify that you move to another part of town?

As soon as you make a decision, your preoccupation levels will diminish. People who lead serene lives tend to be incredibly proactive and organized. Those persons are always the first to adopt measures to prevent problems.

The unassuming way to peace of mind

Fourth, use only quality information: This is a key factor for maintaining your peace of mind. Why would you want to read gloomy articles in newspapers and magazines? What's the point of devoting your time to watching depressing reports on television?

Negative information is highly addictive and, without a strong will, the habit is difficult to break. You have to make a firm decision and stop paying attention to distorted news. You have to make the effort to filter out the noise and focus on quality information.

In most cases, you can keep yourself well informed by spending a few minutes a day on a few selected websites. If you make yourself deaf to nonsense and discouragement, you will have more time for pursuing your primary objectives.

Protect your peace of mind against negative news by transforming risks into numbers, setting limits to damages, facing problems with action, and using only quality information. Every minute of anxiety that you eliminate from your life will add positively to your well-being.


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Monday, 18 November 2013

Ten positive trends rarely reported by the media. In search of principles that make sense. Achieving happiness through rationality. Philosophical ideas to make the best of your life

Rationality is the Way to Happiness

Rationality is the way to happiness
by John Vespasian

In a world where philosophy is often reduced to catch-phrases and empty theories, this is a passionate defence of logic and consistency as the keys to happiness. Personal effectiveness, the basis of well-being and success, results from rational goals, workable plans and relentless action. 

In the areas of career, health, relationships and investments, this essay shows how to let go of wasteful propositions, pursue compatible goals, cultivate perseverance and resilience, minimize problems and maximize opportunities. Inspired by the teachings of Aristotle, Maimonides, Erasmus, Montaigne, Epictetus and Spinoza, the book encourages readers to embrace rationality and adopt a self-reliant, entrepreneurial attitude.

Table of Contents

1. The untold key to success and happiness
Ten positive trends rarely reported by the media
The way to independent thinking
Trust only your own statistics
Achieving happiness through rationality
Wake up to a sharp vision of reality
Important lessons from history
In search of principles that make sense

2. Fundamental skills that everybody should master
Relentless initiative creates opportunities
An active mind looks for alternatives
Cultivate perseverance and resilience
Avoid waste and embrace frugality
Shun overcommitment and worry

3. The easy way to prosperity
Select a career where you can make a good living
Principles of accelerated learning
Using Ancient Mongol tactics to find employment
Discard the myth of career planning
Growth sectors in the 21st century
Those who can sell are always received well

4. Philosophical ideas to make the best of your life
Take the perspective of a lifetime
Focus on practical solutions
Self-confidence arises from preparedness
Pursue compatible goals
Concentrate your resources on essential tasks

5. Get out of losing situations
Immobility is the enemy of achievement
Train yourself to face nonsense calmly
Throw away unworkable plans
Read the writing on the wall
Take simple measures to protect yourself
You have more options than you think

6. Avoiding major mistakes
Preserve your independent thinking
Don't make the same mistake as Confucius
Entrepreneurship is the opposite of resignation
Abandon perfectionism right now
Waiting for the world to change is a waste of time

7. How to find love without making a mess of sex
Rational values are the basis of great relationships
Overcoming the main obstacle to meeting new people
The high cost of short-term romantic involvement
The entrepreneurial factor in love and friendship
What is the crucial success element in dating?
Break free from artificial social constraints

8. Saving and investing to secure your future
Take control of your financial life
Principles of rational investment
Techniques for reducing risk
How to develop self-confidence as an investor
Saving regularly brings peace of mind
The advantage of turbulent times

9. Principles of optimal health
The teachings of Maimonides
Living in accordance with nature
How psychology can improve your health
Modern theories about prolonging life
How some people live to become 100 years old
The low-cost approach to good nutrition
Effective methods for minimizing stress
Sleeping well by natural means

10. Seeking personal growth one day at a time
Embrace rational principles
The link between personal effectiveness and happiness
Become an entrepreneur in your everyday life
Do not be discouraged by your limited resources
Clear thinking gives you the ultimate advantage
It is on slow days when you make big breaks

11. Conclusion
The human need for logic and consistency
Achieving happiness in a chaotic world
Philosophy summarized in a single sentence
It takes a while, but it can be done

Rationality is the way to happiness
by John Vespasian

Thursday, 14 November 2013

How to overcome immobility and become more self-reliant. The key principle in the search of happiness. The kind of hope that you need to have. Turning difficulties into prosperity

Since nobody likes to hear negative answers, the word "no" has almost disappeared from polite conversations. Instead of rejecting requests straight away, people often make vague promises or simply reply that they don't know. Even when refusals are uttered, they are usually phrased as "possibly, but not at this moment."

How to overcome immobility and become more self-reliant

At least, outright rejections can push you to correct your approach. In contrast, indefinite answers only lead to doubt and paralysis. When someone tells you that he is not interested at this moment, he is implying that he might change his mind in the future. Is he inviting you to try again next month? How much time should you devote to pursuing undefined opportunities?

There is hardly a bigger waste of time than waiting for future events that never come. Vague promises of attention, advice, jobs, funding, or friendship should not be taken seriously. You have to face the fact that, instead of substance, you are being served worthless hope. Do not expect much from such assurances. Instead, move on and search for better opportunities.

In those cases, you should not only write off the promise but also the person who made it. Speculating about the seriousness of empty words is unproductive. You will be much better off if you devote your energies to seeking alternative solutions. Take action and do not waste a minute. You will be able to achieve much more on your own.

The key principle in the search of happiness

The same principle applies to the cardinal purpose of philosophy, that is, the search of happiness. Although many ideas, groups, and individuals promise well-being and prosperity, few deliver anything worthwhile. Excuses and apologies are the likely output of unrealistic assurances.

The story will play out in an all-too-predictable way. If you ask to receive your due, you will hear that the time is not ripe. You will be asked to be patient and wait a little longer. Your rational demands will be played down as immature. Your claims will be ignored and your plan of action, postponed.

In that context, you need to ask yourself how long you are willing to wait for happiness. Will you delay your dreams until all pieces of the puzzle fall into place? Are you ready to make further investments in projects that fail to generate profits? How many chances are you willing to give people who repeatedly let you down?

The kind of hope that you need to have

Although hope is universally presented as virtue, this should not always be the case. When hope is not based on facts and logic, it can destroy your life. Irrational expectations can make you waste your days waiting. Inconsistent wishes can pull your forces in opposite directions. Exaggerated expectations may submerge you into conflicts that cannot be resolved.

Amongst all false philosophies, the worst ones preach that you cannot be happy until the whole world changes. Putting your life on hold until the world becomes better is the ultimate folly. Unfortunately, millions of people fall passionately for this idea, which seems to feed on every sort of misery and pain.

In past centuries and nowadays, many individuals show willingness to spend their lives waiting for tidal changes. Such persons talk persuasively and paint pictures of a better world. They make speeches in favour of present sacrifice in exchange for indeterminate future compensation.

A life spent waiting will be devoured by emptiness and diluted by nothingness. Happiness cannot be attained through irrational hopes and exaggerated expectations. Problems rarely get solved on their own. Irrational hopes, instead of elevating your soul, will bury it in a deep black hole.

Turning difficulties into prosperity

Difficulties can be turned into prosperity only if you make workable plans, take swift action, stabilize the situation, and pursue feasible improvements. Passive waiting never leads to happiness. Chance will seldom reduce inconveniences in your environment. Luck cannot be trusted to remove obstacles from your path.

Look at yourself in the mirror and ask how long you are willing to wait for happiness. The higher your self-confidence, the more determined you will be to advance your cause. Never trust promises that cannot be fulfilled. Instead of putting your plans on hold, redouble your efforts to attain your goals.

The faster you recognize unworkable theories, you better off you'll be. When people request you to wait indefinitely to receive your fair share, discard their assurances and search for alternatives. Life is too short to be wasted in pointless waiting. Do not let vain words interfere with your plans. Make sure that you pursue your objectives with relentless passion.

If someone promises you a job at an indeterminate date, keep on searching for a suitable position. If people tell you to be patient, thank them politely for their advice and look for a short-cut to your goals. If your environment favours passivity, figure out how to motivate yourself to work harder in order to accomplish more.

Write down your answer to the question of how long you are willing to wait for happiness. Are you going to stop chasing your dreams until the world becomes a perfect place? Are you going to devote your best years to pointless discussions? Would you accept just to grow older without ever improving your situation?

To those who preach endless waiting, let your reply be short and determined. Shrug your shoulders and tell them the truth. Life is too short for trusting uncertain predictions. It is up to each individual to face problems courageously, stabilize his situation, and transform it into opportunity. Your willingness to wait for happiness should not go beyond what circumstances dictate as absolutely necessary.


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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Five great methods to increase your self-confidence. How to overcome your fears with minimum effort. The key for increasing your ability to take risks. A proven approach to unshakable self-reliance

Prosperity and happiness seem to be directly proportional to self-confidence. Individuals with initiative and persistence tend to achieve more than others who, despite possessing larger resources, behave timidly and confusedly.

Five great methods to increase your self-confidence

Childhood experience plays an important role in building a strong personality, but nobody can do anything to change the past. If you wish to increase your level of self-reliance, you are going to have to use your creativity and take action in the present.

Methods that recommend repeating encouraging phrases to yourself seldom produce lasting effects. Monotonous messages, whether positive or negative, dull the mind. Such practices result in boredom, not in a dynamic personality. The systems that work are those that involve our mind and emotions at the same time.

The goal of increased self-assurance should not be pursued for the needs of the moment, but for permanent improvements in our lives. Changes in our fundamental psychological patterns have little worth if they cannot be stabilized and maintained.

A better future must entail a consolidation of any gains in self-reliance that we may be able to attain. A man cannot become self-confident just for a single day. An isolated incident that provokes major psychological changes contradicts human nature, although it may provide an interesting story for a film.

The main drivers of our personality are incredibly stable. Even minor changes require tremendous effort or sustained external pressure. The only methods that can effectively increase our self-confidence are those that, little by little, realign our thinking patterns according to consistent principles.

How to overcome your fears with minimum effort

The five practices that, in my own experience, have proven to work well are the following: desensitization to danger, risk reduction, creative persistence, building on existing strengths, and working by numbers. Many people instinctively use some of these methods at one time or other. Results can be greatly enhanced by applying them in a conscious and regular manner.

First, desensitization to danger. Once you acknowledge that you live in fear of a specific threat, you must decide if you want to invest time to overcome paralysis and anxiety. The answer to this question is far from self-evident, since thousands of individuals accept timidity as a way of life. Becoming more assertive and adventurous is best achieved by taking small steps. Worry is vanquished by means realism, not by self-delusion.

A progressive loss of sensitivity to danger is the basis of learning to ride a bicycle. At the beginning, you move slowly and hesitatingly. With practice, your body begins to take control by realizing that the situation is much less dangerous than it feels. Desensitization through successive steps is the ideal method to increase self-confidence in situations that allow progressive exposure.

Second, risk reduction. Although History shows the many advantages of stock market investments, millions of people are terrorized of the idea of placing their savings at risk. Purchasing shares of a corporation is viewed as a disproportionate exposure to chance.

Acquiring knowledge about economics can help you assess the benefits of investing in the stock market. However, it will seldom push to you take the decisive step to overcome your fears. In cases where the problem is to cross the line for the first time, risk reduction proves a more powerful tactic than accumulating theoretical knowledge.

The key for increasing your ability to take risks

The first-time investor should simply ignore his fears, open a brokerage account, and make a small purchase of some conservative securities. During the following weeks, he might tend to check the price of his stock ten times a day, but as time goes by, the neophyte investor will get comfortable with the level of risk and be willing to purchase shares of other corporations.

Third, creative persistence. Our self-reliance increases when our accomplishments place us on a higher plateau of performance and satisfaction. Creative persistence demands constant exertion of effort and economy of energy. Our purpose is not to repeat unsuccessful attempts, but to assess failure, introduce variations in our approach, and progressively improve the outcome and reward.

Intelligent perseverance allows us to maintain our overall goal but modify our strategy as needed. A wise man asks himself incessantly how he can do things faster, better, and less expensively. Keep your long-term objectives, but show flexibility in your means and time schedule. Your self-confidence will increase at the same speed as your attempts generate better results.

Fourth, build on existing strengths. High achievers seldom possess a well-rounded personality. A person who is able to perform equally well on all areas is a rarity. An even character that is perfectly balanced in all facets should not be elevated to a psychological ideal.

Due to varying background and talents, individuals tend to excel on a few aspects, perform acceptably on many others, and prove deficient in some. If you wish to become more self-reliant, you should concentrate on developing your strengths instead of worrying about your weaknesses.

Fifth, working by numbers. People who have low regard for themselves often expect too much. A man who demands to succeed in every endeavour should be viewed, with good reason, as wildly unrealistic. Such hard-headed attitudes produce high performance anxiety.

Facts and numbers provide us with the necessary perspective to deal with failure. A candidate who is rejected at a job interview might become needlessly enraged or depressed if he contemplates the event as a major injustice that has the potential to damage his career permanently.

A proven approach to unshakable self-reliance

In contrast, individuals searching for employment who are aware of the statistical odds against them tend to be more relaxed and resilient. If you acquire a realistic view of the amount of effort that you have to exert in order to find a good job, your temporary lack of success will not diminish your self-reliance.

During an economic downturn, there can be easily two dozen applicants for each worthy vacant position. Working by numbers means realizing that you might need two dozen interviews in order to get a desirable job. Internalizing that knowledge is bound to increase your serenity and render you more effective.

Attaining stability on a higher level of personal effectiveness is the common purpose of the above systems to increase self-reliance. Take some time to decide which method you are going to use, make a decision, and carry out your plan. After you have followed the selected strategy for a few weeks, you will acquire better patterns of thought and become more self-reliant.


Image by eggshapedkath under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

Monday, 11 November 2013

The most effective method to avoid getting into deep trouble. A false sense of security can create substantial risks. How to stay away from stressful situations

Learning karate has many advantages. The exercises build your muscles and improve your general health. The practice makes your body fit and your movements precise. Those benefits are indisputable and martial arts schools seldom forget to mention them in their advertisements.

The most effective method to avoid getting into deep trouble

However, if you ask experienced judo practitioners about the reason behind their enthusiasm for the sport, you will get a completely different answer. "The best thing about martial arts," they will tell you, "is that you learn to defend yourself in case of an attack."

Nothing could be further from the truth. People with no karate training are often better skilled at detecting trouble before it appears on the scene. Since they know that they are not trained for combat, they avoid physical confrontation. When they experience threats, they retreat. When they see danger, they keep away from it.

A false sense of security can create substantial risks

On the other hand, how often have you heard stories about some karate expert shot by a criminal in the street for refusing to surrender his wallet? In most cases, if the victim had tried to run away, he might have easily escaped. Realizing that few things are as lethal as a false sense of security has tremendous implications.

A strong belief in nonsense leads men to disregard the evidence of their own perceptions. When that happens, thinking becomes pointless, since it is no longer based on reality. Ignoring our own pain or physical discomfort is a recipe for disaster. When sensations contradict conclusions, it is high time to re-examine the latter.

Relying on something that is not true is worse that confessing ignorance. Make-believe prevents individuals from acknowledging problems and looking for the right answer. Self-inflicted blindness destroys man's sense of direction and invalidates his ambitions.

How to stay away from stressful situations

Keeping your eyes open is the most effective method to avoid getting into deep trouble in life. When meeting new people, trusting what you see is the only way to form an accurate opinion about their qualities and ethical standards. Judging strangers by what they say or by their appearance is a losing proposition.

The most egregious errors are not committed out of ignorance, but by relying on false stories that we tell to ourselves. Accidents that tear apart families and companies could have been frequently prevented by reading the writing on the wall.

Being brave enough to acknowledge a gap between belief and fact is the foundation of personal integrity. There can be no honesty without courage, no serenity without consistency. Entrepreneurs trust their own perceptions and experience more than anything else. A man's ability to detect opportunities equals his willingness to focus on reality.


Image by Paul Keleher under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Staying healthy by adopting easy, inexpensive habits. Minimize your sugar consumption. Maintain a stable weight. Walk at least half an hour a day

Overcomplicated prescriptions discourage individuals from taking action to improve their lives. Through the years, I have read a large number of health books that offered unworkable advice. The theories that they espoused were confusing and often contradictory. Their recommendations proved, on many occasions, too impractical or expensive to implement.

Staying healthy by adopting easy, inexpensive habits

As a result, from each of those books, all that I retained were a couple of conclusions. The effort of reading hundreds of pages was not wasted, since I have implemented many of those ideas with good success. The following twelve habits have served me particularly well. I like to think that I owe them, at least in part, the good health that I enjoy.

[1] Choose whole-grain products: The reason for this is that whole grains contain beneficial minerals, vitamins, and fibre that are not present in white flour.

Indisputably, white-flour products, such as pastries, look more inviting to the eye than those made of whole-grains, but the latter are much better for your health. Explore the shelves of your local supermarket and, in the next weeks, try different whole-grain products to see which ones you like best.

[2] Drink green tea: From all herbal infusions, green tea contains one of the highest percentages of polyphenol, a natural substance that helps combat bacteria and viruses. Apparently, green tea also has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system because it helps decrease low-density cholesterol.

Minimize your sugar consumption

[3] Minimize your sugar consumption: eating sugar, which is highly pleasurable, increases glucose levels in your blood. That phenomenon leads your pancreas to produce additional insulin and your liver to produce triglycerides, which cause your cells to age prematurely. Obesity, which  has taken epidemic proportions in some countries, is often linked to excessive sugar consumption.

[4] Consume salt sparingly: Too much sodium in your diet has an adverse effect on your body because it tends to raise blood pressure. In addition, excessive salt consumption disrupts the sodium-potassium balance in your cells, leads them to multifunction, and accelerates ageing.

[5] Choose high-quality proteins and fat: fish, in particular oily fish such as salmon, contains  first-class protein and fat for the human body. The benefits of abandoning red meat and, instead, consuming fish regularly can result, within weeks, in a better complexion.

[6] Eat some nuts every day: they contain poly-unsaturated fats and selenium, which are both excellent for human health. Selenium, in combination with vitamin E, has been proven to strengthen our immune system. It helps combat viral infections and keeps our heart, liver, and pancreas healthy.

Maintain a stable weight

[7] Maintain a stable weight: this is extremely easy if you are a disciplined person and almost impossible otherwise. The best way to attain this goal is to have a scale at home and check your weight regularly. As soon as you see it deviate from your target, simply adapt your diet during the following week until your weight returns to the desired level.

[8] Set limits to stress: define in advance how much you are able to do. When your hours are full, you know that you cannot take any additional burden without first removing some item from your previous to-do list. Write things down and do not let problems linger in your head. As soon as you decide to drop an activity, cross it out from your list.

[9] Consume tomatoes regularly: they are available at affordable prices in most areas and they are excellent for human health. Tomatoes, which are an essential component of the Mediterranean diet, contain a natural substance called lycopene that helps protect our cells. Studies have shown tomatoes to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

[10] Eat fibre every day: vegetables and legumes contain fibre, an element that cleans our digestive system and helps stabilize glucose levels in our blood. Fibre also plays a role in preventing diabetes, appendicitis, and colon cancer. Whole grains are an excellent source of fibre.

Walk at least half an hour a day

[11] Walk at least half an hour a day: you don't need to kill yourself with exercise in order to enjoy its benefits. If you are too busy during the day, try to find time in the evening to take a brisk walk.

This type of exercise does not require sophisticated equipment and can be practised in most places, even if your work requires you to travel frequently.

[12] Eat garlic: amongst its many benefits, garlic enhances our immune system and helps lower blood pressure. The effects of garlic to combat sickness were already known in antiquity. Modern studies have confirmed its powers to fight viruses and bacteria, as well as its ability to lower blood sugar levels.

Discard the idea that you are going to change your lifestyle overnight. Despite extraordinary success stories shown on television, almost nobody is able to do that. The key to improving your health is to acquire better habits. Fundamental transformation takes substantial effort.

From time to time, your progress will relapse and you will fall back on previous patterns. View those as opportunities to renew your commitment to change. Acquiring better habits is a strenuous undertaking that pays off handsomely over time.

One day, after you have rebuilt your life around a wholesome diet and regular exercise, your new routines will have become so ingrained that you won't consider living otherwise. Your increased vitality will be there for all to see and for you to enjoy, hopefully for many decades to come.


Image by Gilles Gonthier under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

Friday, 8 November 2013

How to cultivate your three most critical assets. These skills can only be developed in progressive steps. Do not be satisfied with trying out just one method

After suffering damage, your most urgent goal should be to stabilize your situation. If you lose your job, you don't want to lose your house too. If you catch the flu, you don't want it to turn into pneumonia. If you get a flat tyre while driving, you don't want to lose control of your car and crash against a wall.

How to cultivate your three most critical assets

Should you fall into a well, your immediate objective is not to drown. You know that you must attain this goal at all costs; other concerns become secondary or irrelevant. Your energies and senses align to ensure your survival. Your physical and mental resources concentrate on a single task to guarantee its accomplishment.

This must-do attitude that makes you unstoppable is precisely what you need to cultivate your critical assets. Self-reliance, thoughtfulness, and decisiveness are the cardinal skills that will help you in times of adversity. None of them can be artificially implanted into your personality.

These skills can only be developed in progressive steps

You cannot improvise psychological resilience more than you can cook perfect crème glacée if you have never set foot in the kitchen. You cannot magically learn to view problems in perspective more than you can drive a car if you've never sat before behind the wheel. When you are facing a major threat, you will only be able to react quickly if you are already used to taking initiative.

Enhancing your self-reliance, thoughtfulness, and decisiveness is a long-term process. Those immaterial assets are worth more than physical wealth. If you possess them, prosperity will be within reach; if you don't, chances are that you will waste whatever wealth you may already have.

Do not be satisfied with trying out just one method

Do not be satisfied with trying out just one method to attain your goal. Reading good material may increase your self-confidence, but so will taking risks, travelling overseas, public speaking, team work, sports, joining a social club, dancing, taking cooking classes, and many other activities.

What about acquiring thoughtfulness? Meditation and self-knowledge may be of help in this respect, but so will be lectures, work experience, learning how to write effectively, staying abreast of the latest news, and discussing with intelligent people.

The same principle applies to decisiveness. Your willingness to take continuous action can be cultivated not just by making to-do lists, but also by identifying your priorities, cutting losses, spreading your risks, having a back-up plan, and developing a support network before you need it.

When disaster hits, those three assets may prove invaluable to you. They will help you identify which actions are critical, stabilize a bad situation, and build a sound basis for improvement. Commit yourself to developing those qualities until they become second nature to you.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living


Image by fazen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Overcome pessimism and discouragement. Embrace a philosophy that leads to happiness. Walk the path of least resistance. Find an outlet for your talents

The Philosophy of Builders
by John Vespasian 

The factors that lead to prosperity and happiness have changed little through the ages. From the lives of accomplished men and women, we can extract the three principles that they have used to build a better future: self-reliance, tolerance and entrepreneurship. 

This book presents how individuals can use these principles to overcome adversity and improve their lives. Through the analysis of situations in the areas of relationships, career, health and investments, it shows how to overcome pessimism and discouragement, walk the path of least resistance, simplify your life and reduce costs, and focus on real opportunities. 

The ideas are illustrated with examples from the lives of Paracelsus, Jane Austen, Thomas of Aquinas, Gutenberg, Jules Verne and many other historical figures, showing how they overcame obstacles and built a better future for themselves.


1. Achieve basic stability
Never underestimate what one man alone can do
Establish the foundation of long-term achievement
Attack problems one by one
Do not allow vanity to paralyse you
Pay attention to danger signals
Build on existing strengths
Learn to view problems in perspective
Wait only the strictly necessary

2. Overcome pessimism and discouragement
Assess risks rationally, not emotionally
Quantify what you can expect
Passive acceptance is not the way to go
Dispute negative thinking patterns
Embrace a philosophy that leads to happiness
Avoid inconsistent decisions
Read inspiring authors

3. Walk the path of least resistance
Discard unworkable plans
Use realism to avoid waste
Look at what people are actually buying
Adopt a lifestyle that suits your temperament
Use long-term goals to determine your direction
Stay out of hopeless ventures
Avoid relativism and scepticism
Find an outlet for your talents

4. Take measures to prevent problems
Be prepared to face misfortune
Concentrate on crucial factors
Pay attention only to quality information
Identify potential threats
Look for simple prescriptions
Protect yourself effectively
Increase your resilience against adversity

5. Simplify your life and reduce your costs
Don't fall in the trap of short-term thinking
Enjoy the benefits of the immigrant mentality
When should you be willing to overpay?
Choose inexpensive alternatives
You can learn the basics quickly
Being healthier by consuming less
The solution to stress: simplification

6. Start new projects with minimum resources
Gather support as you go
The danger of getting stuck in abstractions
Avoid inaccessible markets
Do not be intimidated by other people's achievements
Most barriers are psychological
Small but regular steps often lead to success

7. Focus on real opportunities
Select a low-risk approach
You can profit from troubled times
How to identify promising ideas
Should you worry about the state of the economy?
Use low-cost marketing techniques
Redefine what is essential
Value creation begins with observation

8. Adopt productivity as a way of life
Do not assign excessive weight to mistakes
In case of doubt, opt for a logical explanation
Steady work is preferable to occasional jobs
Choose stories that promote achievement
A change of speed might be all you need
Work only on one major project at a time
Let go of linear expectations
Never entrust your future to chance
Keep flexible and alert

9. Take relentless action
Fill your days with worthy activities
Experiment to find out what works
Adopt effective routines
In crucial matters, do not leave anything untried
Continuous action breeds opportunities
Rewrite your personal history
Can you turn adversity into an asset?
Action is the best way to overcome obstacles

The Philosophy of Builders
by John Vespasian

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The best psychology blogs. How to become more self-confident. Increase your personal effectiveness and happiness. Overcoming stress, anxiety, and depression

    The best psychology blogs
    1. John Vespasian
    2. Mindhacks
    3. Life Optimizer
    4. The Empower Blog (Dr Hiten Vyas)
    5. Wisebread
    6. Inspire Me Today
    7. Early to rise
    8. Unlimited Choice
    9. Pick the brain
    10. The Positive Blog
    11. A Happy Girl
    12. Larry Winget
    13. The Art of Non-Conformity
    14. Personal Success Today
    15. History of Psychology
    16. Zen Habits
    17. Psychological Science
    18. Radiant Soul Space (Otiti Jasmine)
    19. Chance Scoggins
    20. Time Shifting
    21. The Happiness Project
    22. Miz Meliz
    23. Positive Sharing
    24. Brian Kim
    25. Talent Develop
    26. Today is that day
    27. Personal Excellence
    28. The Extraordinary Ordinary
    29. The Jungle of Life
    30. The Albert Ellis Institute 
    31. Dumb Little Man
    32. Fancy Feet (Heidi Cave)
    33. Dalal Akoury
    34. Personal Success Today
    35. Simple Productivity Blog
    36. Meaningful Western Life
    37. Live Bold and Bloom
    38. Try to Stay Positive
    39. Ian's Messy Desk
    40. Anxiety no more
    41. Brain Blog
    42. Advances in the History of Psychology
    43. Positive Provocations
    44. Vishnu's Virtues
    45. Optimistic Life
    46. Up Popped a Fox
    47. Remove Your Limits
    48. Rational Jenn
    49. One Crafty Mother
    50. Life Dev
    51. Escape Adulthood
    52. Association for Psychological Science
    53. Tim Ferriss - The Four-Hour Work-week
    54. Mudita Journal
    55. Barrie Davenport
    56. OK Dork (Noah Kagan)
    57. Psycholocrazy
    58. Stress Eraser
    59. Unclutterer
    60. Home-life Simplified (Australia)
    61. The Situationist
    62. Do it myself (Glenda Watson Hyatt)
    63. A Flourishing Life
    64. The Bold Life
    65. In Pursuit of Happiness
    66. Panic and depression
    67. Psych Central
    68. Shake off the grind and begin to thrive
    69. Living Rationally
    70. Steve Pavlina
    71. Rational Philosophy
    72. Dragos Roua
    73. Happiness in this World
    74. Ramble. Focus. Ramble.
    75. Please Feel Beautiful
    76. Living with anxiety
    77. Personal Success Factors
    78. Enjoying the Small Things (Kelle Hampton)
    79. Kimchi Mamas
    80. Sensophy (Jacob Sokol)
    81. Teaching High School Psychology
    82. The Splintered Mind
    83. Anxiety Slayer
    84. The Psychology of Well-being
    85. Always well within
    86. Hope to cope
    87. National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists
    88. Philosophy and Life 
    89. Craig Harper (Australia)
    90. The Start of Happiness
    91. The Bounce Blog - Develop the Resiliency in You
    92. Influence People (Brian Ahearn)
    93. The Philosophy Blog
    94. Ad hoc thinker to thinker
    95. Research Digest on Brain and Behaviour
    96. Rationally Speaking
    97. Lifehack
    98. Love and Smiles
    99. Deric Bownds Mindblog
    100. Martin Poldma
    101. Psychology Today Blogs
    102. Manage Your Life Now
    103. Experimental Philosophy
    104. Meant to be happy
    105. Tiny Buddha
    106. The Partially Examined Life
    107. A Daring Adventure
    108. Philosophy etc
    109. Psychologies Magazine (United Kingdom)
    110. Gala Darling
    111. British Psychological Society
    112. Abundance Tapestry
    113. Mindful
    114. Philosophers Anonymous
    115. The Recovering Engineer
    116. Oliver Burkeman
    117. Prolific Living
    118. B Brown Random Tagline
    119. Psychology Tomorrow (Magazine) Blog
    120. Maverick Philosopher
    121. Philosophy Talk
    122. Providentia
    123. My super-charged life
    124. Penelope Trunk
    125. Greater Good
    126. Reflecting a life
    127. The Egoist Blog
    128. Philosophy in a Time of Error
    129. How to overcome depression
    130. Help with depression
    131. How to beat depression
    132. How to deal with depression
    133. How to fight depression
    134. How to overcome anxiety
    135. Anxiety relief
    136. Help with anxiety
    137. How to deal with anxiety
    138. How to cope with anxiety
    139. How to reduce stress
    140. Stress relief
    141. How to deal with stress
    142. Stress management