sup homeslice. This site is in beta. Posts are drafts; streams of consciousness.
Better to have published and been Insulted & Humiliated than to have never published at all.

In this file, cat is going to be female and referred to as her but this applies to male cats/dogs/fish/etc.

  • Any animal is afraid of entities (animals, humans, objects) bigger than itself and will be frightened if you display that you’re larger in size to her, hence she will react with aggression or fear at the sight of a larger creature. To avoid this, stood/crawl down to the cat’s level or somehow hide the majority of your body only exposing hands/fingers as the cat cannot distinguish that this body part is part of the larger whole (your finger is not attached to your entire body, as far as the feline is concerned.)
  • Stand up, open your shirt/jacket or somehow appear larger than the cat to invoke fear in her, but do so shortly before/during/after having a treat (cat food, catnip) with you. You want to override that a large creature is not a threat by override learned behavior that a larger animal is a threat by giving the feline a treat during or shortly after frightening her.
  • Let cat adapt to surroundings by reducing noise levels, ensuring air quality is good (avoid smoking tobacco or having open flames for better air quality.)
  • Let the cat roam around with nobody present. Any human or other pet (or smell of previously owned pet urine/fur/litter) will make the cat cautious about leaving her conform zone.
  • After a few days or weeks, if cat is left alone, she may begin to approach you on her own. This is a goos sign. Should the cat approach you, make no noise and no furtive movements. Simply put your hand out. This may frighten her at first, but keep your hand out and pet her behind the neck (where as a kitten, her mom would have carried her using her mouth.)
  • Try to use the same voice/tone with the cat while kneeling down. Use voice gently and if cat refused to acknowledge this call, let her be. Should she respond by peaking out or coming towards you, reward her with a treat or by petting her. Keep hand/arm as low as possible and let her approach it. As you would with a police officer, avoid furtive movements. This is beyond the scope of this article so I will include a short excerpt here:
    • The term Furtive Movement is vague and police use it often enough in any situation rendering it meaningless.
    • To rephrase this, do not make stealth/unexpected/quick/underhanded movements that may scare the cat. Your movements should be slow, visible to the observer (cat, officer, anyone) and predictable. An example of a furtive movement is quickly reaching into your pocket, having your hands up and doing a sly/quick move to touch your hands together or even your watch (reaching for something including your watch is a great way to get shot as the watch may actually be a specialized device (detonator, button to destroy device, etc.)
  • Let feline explore her [new] surroundings at her own pace. Use a single name/sound/voice with a consistent node to give her time ao acclimate
Posted in Anxiety, Bad Habits, General Tips at February 1st, 2015. No Comments.

Having more money usually results in no more than a higher Quality of Life (QoL.) It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll suddenly begin forming new habits because of this big change in your life.

Our hobbies and things we buy are directly correlated to our budget. We implicitly raise our standers of quality and how we perceive purchases. If hiring somebody to fix your shower head will cost $50, and you make $50 an hour, that means you’re spending only $50 vs the 3-4 hour DIY job you’re thinking about to save money. 3-4 hours to do something means the cost (in work hours) comes out to $150-200 and probably low quality work.

People who overspend when they are rich are people who likely overspent and gotten into debt before coming across their fortune. Here’s an example: Spending $300/night on a hotel isn’t that big of a deal to somebody who makes $1000 a day. If that person is making $30,000 a month, $300 to them is only 1% of their monthly income. 1% of $4100/month – a common middle class monthly income (~$50k/year) – is $41. That doesn’t sound absurd. In fact, we will probably opt to spend much more if we feel this is a one time thing, or “we’re on vacation so we might as well stay somewhere nice.”

If it takes less than 10 minutes to do, do it now. Some 10 minute or less tasks are taking a shower, doing the dishes and going around the corner to buy something you need.
Don’t have idle moments. If you feel you’re being idle or conversing with your inner critic too much, shake it off and remind yourself what the next important action is. It will make you feel like crap but if it’s something you can finish in 10 minutes or less, the pros beat the cons.
Have yourself complete at least one small part of what you’re doing before going on breaks. If you feel the need to take a break because you’ve “earned” it by doing a task, then do another task but for no more than 10 minutes, then continue with your break. Over time you will naturally build a habit of reminding yourself what matters right now. Doing the dishes so you don’t have to do 2 loads before bed, vs doing the dishes now and possibly having to do another load before bed knowing both tasks will take 20 minutes in total.

The idea here is to use the time you have between important tasks to complete mundane little tasks that quickly pile up

Sometimes you’ll need help. Sometimes you’ll fail (certainly more than you’ll win, at anything) and sometimes you’ll have regrets. These are part of the human experience and brooding over them costs a lot of time. Most people don’t realize how much time they have in a day (even minus sleep.) It’s not easy to condition yourself to change right away

New experiences are important to help your brain cells build stronger and more efficient connections together. This plasticity is responsible for molding your behaviors and humans are able to constantly make use of it in positive ways to induce a conditioned response. You can’t choose exactly how you feel. Your brain
Don’t say no unless you have a great reason. If the person inviting you is constantly rebutting every excuse you have, they know you don’t want to go because you’re disturbed or anxious. There’s no point hiding it and there’s also no real point in saying no unless you really have an excuse. Alone time results in strengthening the networks between neurons such that they are configured in formations that determine how you feel about something and how you approach it. It’s obvious when somebody is depressed or anxious, and trying to talk them out of it isn’t going to work.

Always take into account the fact that others don’t perceive things you do. You might have a grand idea or you’r enthusiastic about a subject. You’ve found something that’s meaning to you. This means whatever it is you can’t stop raving about is a way to help you cope with your own issues. For others to join in to help you achieve it, or when it comes to explaining your idea to somebody else, keep in mind that the other person probably doesn’t have the same definition of the adjectives you’re using. Some people might understand you at an intellectual level, but unless you have authority (experience) and a proven track record, telling people your ideas generally results in questions and topics that lead you to never start. Show off or ask for help only when you’ve done a majority of the work and have shown that this is something you’d actually pursue this time. You waste everyone’s time by constantly switching between ideas.

Small tasks pile up quickly. One tip I use is to simply remind myself that if the task takes less than 10 minutes, Its best to get it out of the way right now.

Doing the dishes right after eating or cooking takes about 1-5 minutes tops for 1-2 people’s dishes. It takes about 3x as long to finish the same load if you let food dry onto the dishes overnight.

Doing your dishes encourages others to do theirs as well. You should continue to do at least your own dishes regardless of whether your roommate/partner/family take notice or not.

Taking out the trash takes no more than 2-3 minutes. Before adopting this habit (took awhile) I used to let garbage pile up in my garage and take it out in big batches monthly.

It’s unlikely you would have productively used the 5-10 minutes each task takes. When depressed, anxious or just unproductive, time seems to fly by very quickly. In fact, 10 minutes is a very long time. Adopting a habit of learning something, recreational reading or exercise for 10 minutes a day is a great start.

Posted in Bad Habits, Time Management at February 25th, 2011. No Comments.

There are some excellent self-help material out there. Some of it can change lives, or at least instill excellent habits and help one see things in a new light. Think and Grow Rich is a classic. Steve Pavlina’s articles are informational and motivational. Joe Novarro’s books on body language are a must read for everyone. There’s something I noticed about people who don’t get many benefits from self-help.

Self-help books assume that you’re healthy to begin with. How can you Get Things Done when you can’t even change the cat litter less than once a month, or do the laundry or dishes?

These things aren’t easy, but for some people they just aren’t possible. It’s not that one may be physically incapable of doing something, but for people who suffer from depression (clinically, not just occasional sadness,) it’s easy to justify against doing anything. No matter how good this advice is, telling a depression person to exercise daily will never produce results. Telling a depressed person to quit smoking will never produce results. That person may be able to exercise and quit smoking after the depression is taken care of. In this sense, these things would serve as symptoms of depression rather than a cause.

If you’re stuck and you can’t seem to move forward, especially if it has been this way for a prolonged period, I recommend seeking professional help. It takes a lot of courage to get past the stigma of mental illness (it takes about 8 years to diagnose depression, on average) but it doesn’t make sense to loiter through life until it gets bad enough that you will end up seeking professional help anyway.

After the mental illness is being taken care of, the self-help material begins making sense in a new light. It’s no longer just mental masturbation, but begins being actual habits that you can work into your life slowly. Treating the depression will not change the bad habits a person depressed for years may have integrated into his life, but once you treat the illness (either via medication or psychoanalysis, or both) getting things done, exercising on a regular basis, getting over shyness, socializing, etc become feasible, especially after you begin seeing changes occur at such a rapid rate.

When discussing depression and medication, people use the argument that medication is ineffective because they don’t agree with the chemical imbalance theory (that low serotonin causes depression.) Not only is this an obvious logical fallacy, but the chemical imbalance theory is no longer in vogue in the science circle. It hasn’t been in decades. It mainly gained traction because it was used in a few anti-depressant commercials and is now perpetuated by people who are anti-psychiatry and anti-pharmaceauticals.

Many people don’t realize this but we don’t know how many drugs work. It’s pretty irrelevant to the patient. If a drug is safe and effective according to studies, then the drug may be administered to help a patient, regardless of whether we know exactly how it works or not. If we knew enough about depression, then anti-depressant’s wouldn’t cause so many side effects and psychiatry for depression wouldn’t be hit or miss. But these facts don’t disprove that the medications as effective. If you’re depressed, what choice do you really have? You can suffer from depression for another 10 years waiting for new studies and medications, or you can take whatever treatment(s) work today and live a ridiculously higher quality of life.

There are many plausible theories on what causes depression that don’t involve low serotonin. In fact, a drug called Tianeptine is an SSRE—Selective Serotonin Reuptake Enhancer—meaning it works the opposite of SSRIs and it’s as effective for depression. (“SSREs have been demonstrated to be as effective as SSRIs against depression, have a much faster onset of action (immediate), and have a much better tolerability profile”)

Remember that in psychiatry, meds are prescribed based on the patient’s own experiences. Medication is changed, augmented and doses adjusted purely based on how the patient feels. The patient is not tested for having low serotonin or low dopamine. HOW the medication works is irrelevant to most patients and even to most doctors. Doctors may keep up with the latest studies, but to them, their primary goal is making you healthy again.

Let’s look at a scenario:

Jane is depressed. It gets worse over the years, to the point where she lost her job and cannot emotionally work anymore. She’s overwhelmed and chronically fatigued, and cannot bring herself to do much anymore. Just taking out the trash feel’s like a hard day’s work, and most of her time is spent surfing the net or asleep. She can see her life turning to shit day by day, but cannot muster up enough motivation and enthusiasm to do anything about it. She may not be suicidal, but death by atrophy or homelessness is preferred to the efforts of living.

She has friends that insist that prayer, exercise, “going out” and so forth will cure her depression. Jane likes her friends but takes her advice with a grain of salt. They’ve obviously not been depressed, otherwise how do they expect a depressed person to go out and exercise? When you’re overwhelmed, there’s a feeling that there are far bigger things to worry about and philosophize over than going out to exercise.

Things get so bad that Jane considers seeing a doctor. She feels somewhat embarrassed but knows that it’s for her own good.

Jane begins taking Prozac (or Zoloft or Celexa or any other SSRI) and feels even worse for the first 2-3 weeks. She expects this and remains persistent in taking her meds. She wakes up one morning and things begin looking up. Things are different, though she can’t quite put her finger on why. Things aren’t as bad as she had been seeing them the past few months. Living may not feel easy, but it certainly feels feasible. She gets out of bed and her house and room look different. When did it become such a mess? When did she stop caring about the stench coming from the piles of laundry all over her room? Did breakfast always taste this good? She steps outside and notices how beautiful the world is. Trees, people running about, a breeze of fresh air, was the world always like this? Just last week this same scene was monochrome. Today it’s vivid.

Now would it really matter to Jane if the chemical imbalance theory is wrong? If she were to pick up a newspaper that says in bold “Scientists Prove Low Serotonin is NOT the Cause of Depression” would that suddenly make Jane’s world monochrome again?

Jane may feel great and then one day decide to stop taking the meds. Her life goes to shit within 3-6 months. When she starts the medication again, her life is fixed, again. That’s all that really matters to Jane.

Whether the Prozac helps her depression by inducing neurogenesis (growing new neurons,) increasing serotonin, reducing the damage caused by cytokines (stress), whether it’s a placebo, or whether it signals for Zeus to zap Jane’s brain with a lightening bolt, none of that matters. Jane probably doesn’t care how Aspirin, Penicillin, her Ipod or her microwave works. These serve functions to Jane, much like the function to live offered by her anti-depressants.

Posted in Depression, mental illness at October 4th, 2010. 1 Comment.

Spend at least $10+ buying something you really want to eat. The healthier, more expensive, more ethnic – and anything else that may make it easier to justify eating the meal, the better.

Buy this meal, prepare it, unpack it, etc, and then have it sitting in front of you. Oh, and don’t eat it. Just sit.

DO NOT taste any part of the meal. Don’t even taste the ketchup packets.

DO NOT eat anything for the next 8 hours.

DO notice the smell and freshness of it.

DO make note of every justification you’re coming up with. (See list below)

Remember that this is a test of self-control, not healthiness, finances, or anything else. The cost of the meal is the cost of the experiment, not “a waste of money.” Yes there are starving kids in Africa, but when did you give a shit?

This will likely take a few tries, but try to 1up the last meal you failed to resist.

Justifications that may be going through your mind:

  • I’m wasting money
  • I’m wasting food
  • My mom/Gods told me never to throw food out.
  • I never tried food from this place
  • I never tried this dish/item
  • I’m gonna be awake for a long time so I should eat
  • I’m hungry. It’s not healthy not to eat
  • I need protein (or carbs, or fats, or calories, …)
  • I have dry mouth (water is OK but don’t fill yourself up)
  • I’m afraid of getting an ulcer (or some other medical condition)
  • I just drank coffee, alcohol or <insert other drug>, it’s better if I eat something with these drugs
  • I don’t have self-control, who cares?
  • I’ll try this again some other time
  • Just a bite (1 bite is justified same way as entire meal)

Notice that in the back of your mind, the goal that you will eat the food will remain. What’s stopping you from eating the food is your search for a reasonable justification. The point of the task is to stop this searching and just accept the unwanted end result – no soup for you.

Posted in Bad Habits, persistence, self-awareness at December 12th, 2009. No Comments.

There are no benefits to freaking out. None. Deep breath and a slow exhale.

Posted in Anxiety at December 12th, 2009. No Comments.

When you don’t feel like doing something, you may decide to take a nap, or postpone the task to a later day (most likely tomorrow). This seems like sound logic, but it usually disregards the fact that when the time comes to actually do the task, you will not feel anymore desire to do it than, than you did the time you postponed the task. And you will likely postpone it again.

There are situations in which putting things off is OK, or even the best solution at the time (i.e., too drunk, etc), but most of the time, you might be postponing something simply because you haven’t given it much thought yet and have no idea where to begin. The task seems overwhelming, or because the task just provides no immediate pleasure.

“I’m too tired” and “I’ll take a nap” are excellent excuses because we imagine waking up refreshed, energetic and ready to take on anything. This is almost never the case. In fact, when I have a lot of things piled up from the prior week, I definitely don’t want to get out of bed. This becomes worse when more todo-list items, especially ones of high priority, are all reaching their deadlines or are already past due.

Always give tasks a thought on what the exact steps required are to complete the task, and about how long it will take, before postponing it. If it takes less than 10 minutes, why not do it right than and there? It will end up taking much longer than 10 minutes if you’re going to postpone it multiple times and potentially suffer a consequence.

An analogy would be being too lazy to login to pay your credit card bill, but all the while worrying about it, and finally getting a late fee and lower credit score.

Posted in Procrastination at December 12th, 2009. No Comments.

Instead of trying to get things done. Try getting any one thing done.

Posted in Procrastination, Thinking vs Doing, Time Management at December 12th, 2009. No Comments.