What Will Make You The Happiest?

Although this insight comes from my experience, I believe that what will make you the happiest is being yourself.

Be unique, quirky, different, find your own truth, be yourself, don’t live a common life, don’t do what is conventional, always seek your truth, etc.

Let me tell you a story. When I started writing I had no idea that I would fall in love with the process of writing and the benefits that come with writing. It led me to discover my truth instead of accepting some fixed doctrine.

Sometimes I fall into the trap of following religion or capitalism or materialism or some philosophy or some other ideology which is always a trap of finding your truth.

For example, one day some three years ago approximately, I reading Bhagavad Gita As It Is. And reading it felt good but then after a month I joined ISKCON’s Satsang and started absorbing the ideology in my mind.

I am not saying that there’s no truth in spiritual teachings. What I am saying is that your truth is not an ideology, it’s your inner wisdom.

No amount of ideology can replace your inner wisdom, your truth.

So as you might infer, I stopped going to ISKCON satsangs for various reasons but one of them was the heavy use of Hindu mythology.

I still read the Gita from time to time but I don’t subscribe to one ideology.

Now you may think what does being yourself look like?

Although I am far from perfect but for me, I journal every day and I write in my blog sometimes. This helps me observe what I am thinking daily and stay on track with living my truth.

I believe in hope and all things real like honesty, love, faith, generosity, etc. And I have social anxiety and so sometimes I am unable to be generous to all people, but I try my best to have hope most of the time.

Overcoming social anxiety is something I have to work on but that’s just what comes with the package that is called me.

Being yourself is also full of struggles. Choosing commerce or arts instead of science stream is hard when no one in your family is from commerce or arts. Choosing to work in a corporate job is hard when all your family members and relatives work in the government.

But it comes with the knowledge that you are being you. You are living life from your inner wisdom.

Have you ever travelled solo to some new place? I did. When I was in class 10, age 14, I went to the city to eat in a restaurant alone skipping tuition classes. My parents were worried thinking about where I had gone. But I returned home safely.

Also, I had done stupid things all my life with friends or alone.

Something inside me guided me. And I believe the more we allow this guidance to guide us in new situations, the wiser we become.

This is what fuelled pioneers- freedom, adventure, and self-expression.

But you may think that spiritual teachings ask us to find these values in ourselves- to find God in yourself, in man.

I guess you could say if finding God is what inspires you, then that is your truth. If someone is inspired by adventure, then that is their truth.

Conclusion

Swami Vivekananda taught humanity to believe in oneself.

 And that’s why I say what will make you happiest is to be yourself, to live by your truth, to believe in yourself, and to be original and truly free.

Thank you for reading this blog post. Please share this blog post and answer this one question-

What is your truth that you believe in?

Music Could be Good For Your Mental Health

In this post, I will write about how music has helped me in my mental health journey.

So I was diagnosed in 2015 and I have been going through treatment for depression, bipolar disorder and social anxiety. 

Music has helped me immensely. 

Apart from listening to music, I found huge benefits from practising music. I got admitted to a singing class and I love it. I love the practice, the sound, the Sargam, etc. 

Although it’s not my main career, I love it as a hobby.

So I have always loved music but the problem was with the consistency of practice. I was not practising regularly. 

3 years ago I started harmonium classes and continued them for a few months. Then I joined singing classes online earlier this year and continued for 2 weeks.

I was not prioritizing it and not practising daily. But with that fixed, I feel much more confident.

I feel more peaceful and in a flow state when practising music. 

So basically I am practising with vocals and keyboard and I am trying to learn the fundamentals first. 

I can’t sing well though and I am trying to improve. It will take time and though I am impatient, I will learn patience along with the mastery of music.

The main things that I want to highlight are “flow” and “peace”. 

Flow is when we become so focused and feel bliss in a task that we forget the passage of time. And peace is when we feel peaceful.

Everybody’s mental health can improve with bliss and peace in my opinion. 

It’s a different matter that learning music may not be everybody’s preference. But it’s a good path to choose if that’s one’s priority.

For me practising music has helped me feel more peaceful and in the flow and is good for my mental health.

Thank you for reading this blog post. Please comment on which song makes you feel peaceful?

A New Perspective On Social Anxiety

I would like to write about my privilege.

Before that, I would like to tell you a story.

Once there was a boy with a mental illness. But people didn’t know that his condition was due to mental illness. The boy acted normally except he wouldn’t socialize much. Most times he wouldn’t socialize with people and would avoid people. He would also do rude facial expressions and sweat a lot. He would sometimes passively say rude things to avoid people.

So people thought he was too arrogant and self-centered.

But the boy asked for forgiveness from God in his heart every time he did something rude. He would say to himself in his mind,” I don’t want to be rude. But I can’t help it. I have social anxiety. Hope you understand.”

Only time will tell but I hope the boy finds peace and happiness in life and so do the people in his life.

Now let’s talk about my privilege.

I have been on both the receiving and the giving end of the spectrum of the above story.

I have been through social anxiety and I have seen people go through social anxiety. I have misjudged many people and I deeply regret it. And I have been through enough situations to understand people’s pain.

My privilege is that I have been through mental illness to be able to relate to the pain of others who are going through mental illness.

The reason I wanted to bring this perspective to your attention is that I think people suffer in silence even though other people see them as inflicting the suffering.

I think we need to have more empathy and actively seek to include people.

This verse from The Bible says it best-

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37

Also, I think we need to take it one step further by trying to forgive them even before they ask for forgiveness, and by thinking good thoughts for them.

This applies to both perspectives of the story.

Thank you for reading this blog post. If you liked this then like it and share it.

Inspiration to Be Yourself

So before I write this blog post I would like to tell you that you are perfect. No matter how imperfect your life is, you are perfect. You don’t need to change anything about yourself.

Now if you think that being yourself is difficult or impossible and that you need to be a “better version” of yourself, I’ll tell you a story.

Music has always been an integral part of my life. I like listening to all kinds of songs and especially emotionally charged electronic and dance music.

So recently I found a streamer on Twitch.tv accidentally and I loved that she was singing covers of some of the most beautiful songs ever. And I followed her.

The best part of it was I loved the community. I never felt judged and I could be myself.

I still love the community. And even though we don’t share information about our private lives, we are pretty cool and we play games and listen to music together sometimes.

It was here that I realized I need to be myself. I realized this when I decided to face my fear of talking to groups of people. 

I am extremely shy and introverted and I have social anxiety. So it was difficult for me but I faced the fear anyway.

But I love being myself. I feel comfortable in my own shoes. And I feel more positive every day.

The key is to “Be yourself”. 

The way to be yourself is in feeling comfortable with who you are.

If you are a nice person, and you sometimes become aggressive or too funny or go over the top too much in a certain social situation, you need to be nice.

If you are actually an over-the-top funny person and you sometimes act too nice out of anxiety, then you need to be over the top again.

You see you need to be yourself. It’s good for your mental health.

Another story is when I was not being myself and I was trying to change myself.

In high school, I was too focused on fitting in and I lost touch with my true self. 

I remember we had a study abroad college fair where many colleges from outside India had come to our city. I was trying to be an extrovert which I wasn’t.

I couldn’t be an extrovert and so I blamed myself and wanted to change myself.

I later realized that I should’ve been trying to be myself which would later be effortless.

Conclusion

So yeah, it is definitely possible to be social, be yourself and find a community.

Thanks for reading this blog post. Let me know- What do you feel about being yourself?

A Special Blog Post for Making You Feel Good

So for the past weeks I have been through a strange mental journey of coming to a temporary conclusion of the belief that-“Life is hard”.

You may say, “Well of course life is hard.”

I am not questioning this strong fact. But let’s ask ourselves a simple question for the sake of curiosity and truth- “Does believing in the fact that life is hard make us do work where we can give a 100% of ourselves?”

Before answering the question, I would like to give you a brief background information.

I am in the process of healing from my mental health problems. I have severe social anxiety and a little bipolar disorder. For instance, I find it hard to go out of my home on a daily basis because I am afraid of interacting with people. And I have problems forcing myself to do anything because most of the time my mood dictates every action I take. It makes me feel crazy to do anything if I must use willpower to force motivation into my soul. Mind over body does not work for me consistently.

However, I can best do the things I have a strong emotionally powerful vision for or things that I am passionate about. The problem is my curiosity questions all the powerful visions and I am not passionate about something in the Steve Jobs style.

“You have to have a lot of passion for what you do… because if you don’t, any rational person would give up.”

Steve Jobs

Now, story time.

So nowadays I am staying at home most of the time partly because of anxiety and partly because I switched to an online Bachelor of Business Administration degree(I know most of my friends have graduated but I don’t compare myself to others).

And sometimes I get two of my cousin brothers (10year old’s) visiting our home during at noon time. They basically watch anime and only ask me if a certain movie is on hotstar or Netflix. I just tell them, and they do everything else. They are experts little 10year old’s. Right??

So, one day they were watching an anime that I watched season one of years ago. The anime’s name is Tokyo Ghoul.

As I watched it with them, I got interested.

In my free time I watched all the seasons of Tokyo Ghoul, and I was particularly inspired by a character in this anime.


His name is Hide (spelled Hye-Day). He is not the hero. He is the hero Kaneki’s best friend. In fact, we don’t see much of him in the anime. But his role in the ending of the anime is significant.

He is the person who is selfless, sacrificing, a true leader.

I don’t want to spoil the anime for you. You can watch Tokyo Ghoul on Netflix.

But I just wonder, what makes a person so determined and selfless. It’s certainly not in believing that life is hard that a person does selfless acts.

One can occasionally do hard things in life, but it takes extraordinary reason to do hard things consistently and becoming successful at it and “Life is hard” is not an extraordinary reason.

So I just started experimenting with different perspectives. First, I used the belief “Life is hard” to motivate myself to study more. I studied consistently for a week for a short amount of time. It was consistent. I chose this belief from observing people in my life. It’s their belief.

But the process of forcing myself was mentally taxing and exhausting. I was not happy.

Secondly, I resumed to my normal way of being and I read fiction novels and listened to my favorite songs.

I realized from all this that an inspiring future expectation creates passion. But it is not easy to have an inspiring future expectation that is also realistic.

So I am going to my career counselor for an appointment to help me pinpoint my post-graduate plans for me.

But to answer the question- “Does believing in the fact that life is hard make us do work where we can give a 100% of ourselves?”

The answer is NO!

I know life is hard. I also know this- life is beautiful. Beauty mesmerizes us and a beautiful future inspires all of us.

And it is not possible to give 100% of yourself or myself to the work unless you or I secretly love that work.

Thank you for reading this blog post. Also, I am not a mental health or career expert. I am Anirban, I am just an average person. This was a blog post about my realizations and story. If you like this post, then share it and comment what you want to comment. See you next time!

Hate Therapy? The Biggest Reason To Motivate Yourself For Therapy

When I was depressed and mentally ill, I went to probably 5 different psychotherapists.

Each of them has a different way of doing therapy(psychotherapy). And most of them did not have any impact on my mental health.

It was only when I found my current therapist that I feel like my mental health is getting better.

I’ll not name anyone, but I’d explain why this phenomenon of most therapy not working occurs.

I’ll not speak about different methods of therapy because I don’t know about them. I’ll write about my understanding and my beliefs.

I think the calmness and thoughtfulness of my current therapist motivate me to get better. I respect my therapist because of it.

And I think this motivation and respect also come from the intuitive understanding and belief that my therapist embodies what he says. That he walks his talk.

Most of the time, other therapists give us advice, but they don’t follow that advice. They are not happy with their lives themselves.

I don’t and can’t respect them because of some reason. Maybe because they don’t set an example for the person, they want me to be.

I think this is very important for even people of other professions- to walk their talk, be who you want others to be first, embody your truth, etc. This is a basic leadership skill.


Every therapist, life coach, and consultant is a leader who leads the clients, and patients from darkness to light. And if the therapists don’t inspire change in the patient by setting an example, then the relationship between the patient and therapist won’t work.

But what you need to do to overcome social anxiety, depression or any other mental illness is to follow your therapist’s advice even though your therapist may not be a good leader.

Just don’t keep changing therapists because you feel like they are not good leaders.

Also, the content of the advice is of little significance from my experience. The relationship between the therapist and the patient is more important than the content of the advice.

I mean who really listens or pays attention in therapy except for the therapist when there is no respect from the patient. Every word of advice goes to one ear and out from another ear of the patient or is entirely ignored by the patient.

Although when the relationship gets stronger and the patient finally respects the therapist, the patient will listen to his advice.

But until then it’s only the inspiration that comes from walking the talk on the therapist’s part that works for the patient.

So, the therapist works to the degree of the personal development of the therapist as a leader and a person who walks his talk.

Therapy is useful. And it is important.

And therapy has helped me feel understood amidst all the medication and psychological tests. I have felt better because of therapy. It has given me a safe space to speak about my feelings. It has helped me persevere during hard times.

I remember there was a psychologist at NIMHANS, Bangalore who was very polite and kind to me. I never forget her kindness. She always saw the good in me.

So go to your therapist or find a therapist near you and get therapy because it is important.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not medical advice. Anirban Saren is not a medical professional or a doctor or a psychotherapist.

How I cope with depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety

How I cope with mental illness is simple. I write in my journal, my blog, my twitter page and my laptop. I also read books on philosophy. And when I am restless or bored, I watch Netflix or Anime.

Although time does not seem to pass. My days are very long. I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to do the whole day when I am not writing.

I also feel like I am a failure and a loser often. I don’t know why. There is no logical reason for calling myself a failure and a loser. But whenever I remember past negative events, I blame myself and call myself a failure.

My parents and sibling are very supportive. They listen to my problems and sympathize with me. They always encourage me to go out and live life. Sometimes I listen to them and sometimes I don’t.

Depression is a sneaky thing. It enters through the back door and when you are unaware, it gets a hold on you. I cope with depression by listening to music.

With bipolar disorder, where two extremes of the personality dominate at different times based on the mood. I cope with it through maintaining a journal.

With anxiety, I don’t cope quite well. But I try to not depend on my parents too much and try to become independent.

Well, why do I have mental illness? I don’t know. It happens to some people.

I hope I become a great writer, blogger, author, etc.

I think one can never overcome mental illness fully. One can only live with it better.

My plan is to write great stuff. And achieve my dreams through it.

I also think coping is possible only if you know yourself. If you don’t cope well, then probably you don’t know yourself well.

Thank you for reading my blog post. Stay tuned for more.

Social Anxiety To Master Leader And Salesman

As I write about the solution, I would like to tell you that I tried to overcome my social anxiety for the last two days with great difficulty and I succeeded to go to my grandmaa’s house and also ask my father if I could accompany him at his office. But I failed to continue the streak of success. I will try again

Anirban Saren

The reason I am writing this blog post is to show a way in which life works to disguise your greatest gifts as your greatest weakness.

By the way I have not become a master leader and salesman but I want to. This is what I want and I am willing to do many difficult things for achieving it.

Why do I want it? Because I want to help people be free of suffering.

As you know I said before that I have social anxiety disorder. Then why this deep desire to be a leader and a salesman, things that are totally opposite of a person suffering from social anxiety?

Well to be honest I don’t know. You can ask many of my friends and they will tell you that I am not a people person. But my close friends will tell you an entirely different story. They will tell you that I love people. When among them I become an irresistibly social person.

So I don’t know why this is the case. But I think there is a shadow aspect of my personality that has been hidden due to my circumstances of life. Regardless of the reason let’s talk about the solution.

As I write about the solution, I would like to tell you that I tried to overcome my social anxiety for the last two days with great difficulty and I succeeded to go to my grandmaa’s house and also ask my father if I could accompany him at his office. But I failed to continue the streak of success. I will try again.

So back to what we are talking about here. What is the solution?

I used to think I can just use brute force to push through the fear. But it’s not easy.

I even read books on releasing emotions, self-esteem and stoic philosophy but life just doesn’t work like that.

But I have to tell you a solution that I will execute on, if not for me, for you.

My solution is to follow my passion. I will improve my self-expression skills through attending events, writing everyday for a set period of time, commit to self-expression,etc.

Yes that’s my solution because my passion is a stronger motivation than social anxiety.

So basically my deepest desire is to be a leader and salesman who helps people overcome suffering and I have no clue how to do it because I feel abnormal levels of fear before most social interactions. This is going to be one hell of a ride.

This could be my greatest gift. This could also be my greatest regret if I don’t try. Either way I will succeed or perish trying.

So thank you for reading this blog post. I could not post in the past two days because I was busy applying some of my own ideas to overcome social anxiety. See you tomorrow.

About “Perfect” Social Media Photos

The reason I am writing this is to show you a unique perspective on comparing yourself with other people.

Social media is full of the perfect moments in the lives of us but sometimes when you are down in the drain these perfect moments seldom empower you.

Instead they make you feel like a failure.

Comparing myself with my friends and college mates who have girlfriends/boyfriends, perfect slim bodies, and happiness makes me feel like I am missing out on life.

And if you feel like same way when you scroll your social media feed, you are not alone.

But we know how it goes. They probably feel as empty inside as me or maybe more. But the truth is my social life is not what I want it to be.

And I am not blaming anyone.

Ok ok I am blaming my past. But I am learning to see past these superficial comparisons.

So what is the solution?

I noticed that as soon as I focus on what I love, that is self-expression, I feel good about myself. I am even planning to go all in.

As soon as I write I feel like I am doing something unique to me. I am sharing my unique life story and gifts to the world.

I don’t know what the phd psychologist will recommend as a solution but this one solution, doing your passion works for me.

I follow a guy whose name is Grant Cardone, New York Times best-selling author and the founder of the 10X Rule and I love his ideas. One of his ideas is to swim in the kool-aid than just drinking it. It means to immerse yourself in an activity or learn about something so much that you forget everything else and fully commit to it in order to be a master in it.

In Grant’s own life he is busy all the time and tells his viewer that if you want to meet the devil, have blank space in your calendar. It is a good example for comparing the negative thoughts and comparisons to the devil in your head.

So I hope you liked this little post and see you every Monday. I say Monday but I am posting a new blog post everyday and it gets old when I say “see you every Monday”. So see you tomorrow!

My Personal Mental Health Journey

It started with me thinking like everyone was looking at me and thinking bad things about me.

I was 15 in 2015 and extremely self-conscious. I did not know what was happening. So I went to the one plan where you can get all answers free of cost- Google.

After researching google for a few hours that afternoon I read the text “Social Anxiety Disorder”. And when my mother arrive home from work, I told her about it.

She knew what it was because she had it when she was young.

But all I could think was it is the worst thing that can happen to a human being. I won’t even wish it on my worst enemy because I knew even at that time that social anxiety is worse than death.

Eventually I begged to my parents to take me to the doctor because in India mental health is still a stigma. And most people think that mental illness happens to only those patients who are in the mental asylum.

I went to the National Institute of Behaviour Sciences in Kolkata and they made me see the psychologist. But I refused to see the psychiatrist and decided to not medication.

Long story short, the psychologist and I had a disagreement. His techniques did not work or at least it did in his textbooks and he probably said to me, I don’t remember the exact words, I had to do those techniques in order to get better. Then I started seeing other psychologists.

Then my parents took me to the Apollo hospital in Kolkata. This time also I refused to take medication. But he recommended a psychologist near our home in Howrah.

The new psychologist explained to me why I had social anxiety. She told me it was because of my parents marital conflict. But her solutions were like the previous psychologist-same textbook solutions that never works for me.

The solutions like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy don’t work for me. I am depressed and I don’t need more depressing stuff like CBT.

So the same conversation happened that her solutions were not working. And I started seeing other psychologist. Or at least I wanted to but I felt so hopeless that I did not see other psychologist and turned to religion.

I real the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita and meditated diligently for 20mins everyday and in between I missed school and played Fallout 4 and other shooting games all day and I failed in class 11.

Then I joined an new school that I hated and I started to feel frustrated with myself. I stopped going to school for a few months and my plan became to meditate and dissolve my “ego”. I didn’t even know what that meant.

It turned out to be very dangerous for my mental health and I developed insomnia and psychosis. And I had to go to National Institute of Mental Health And Neurosciences and I had to take medication.

At this point of time my parents were very supportive. My sister was also very supportive. Most of my relatives were also supportive despite not understanding what mental health issues was.

At NIMHANS I met many new people and made some friends. And although it gave me a new insight into my problems through the regular therapy and careful medicine prescription at NIMHANS, I did not find the solution there.

When I came back to Kolkata, I was more depressed than ever. The psychosis and mania and insomnia occurred again. So we went to the SSKM hospital in Kolkata.

I still haven’t found the solution. What I mean by solution is mental peace.

Meditation does not have it. Psychologist does have it. I am also doing reiki healing. I think reiki works but I think what I am looking for outside me is already in me. But I don’t know how to use it.

Life is not perfect. It is an ongoing struggle. But there is hope.

I am 22 and I still have to go to therapy, get reiki healing, take medication,etc.

Do I have to feel handicapped?

No I don’t. I know that I am equally capable as everybody else. In fact I as a person can do more than others. In an internship training test I was the best of 400candidates my age not few days ago. I don’t blame mental health issues for anything. It is a part of me. If I can accept my good side I need to accept my bad side. There is no place for blaming in my life.

Do I feel like I could be more successful without my mental health issues?

No I would be less successful if I did not have the mental health issues.

Do I love myself?

I love myself and something I feel angry at myself but it’s all a learning process.

So I think you get the picture. It’s not a success story yet. It’s more like a mundane story.

Stay tuned for every Mondays when I surely upload blog posts. And have a great day dear amazing readers!