The path to less stress? Strategic pessimism.

The key to happiness is being less optimistic and accepting a certain amount of unhappiness.

  • The centuries old philosophy of Stoicism may hold the key to a kind of happiness that is more grounded in reality.
  • The two main ideas of stoic happiness are that problems are caused by your reactions to events not the events themselves, and the only things you can control are your thoughts and your actions.
  • Choosing strategic pessimism over optimism and positive thinking is one way to avoid "unnecessary disturbance and anxiety."
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Is love an addiction?

Love triggers the same regions of your brain as cocaine addiction.

  • Studies have shown that romantic love, while often positive, activates basic brain regions that are also triggered by cocaine addiction.
  • Stalking, clinical depression, and even suicides have been attributed to love addictions.
  • For better or worse, everybody at some time in their life has been or will be addicted to love.
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A healthy sex life can help minimize depression and anxiety symptoms

When you struggle with anxiety or depression, sex may be the last thing on your mind. But understanding the physiological and mental benefits of a healthy sex life can help it become a tool for well-being.

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  • The physiological responses our bodies have to sex can minimize the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Deficiencies in nitric oxide are associated with irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and less energy. Having sex increases your body's nitric oxide levels.
  • Sex also increases epinephrine, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin, all of which are linked to mood, behavior, and well-being.
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#6: How psychedelics work: Fire the conductor, let the orchestra play | Top 10 2019

Next up on the top 10 countdown, Big Think's sixth most popular video illustrates the mental fireworks of a psychedelic experience.

  • Big Think's #6 most popular video of 2019 explains the ego's "location" in the brain: It would be the default mode network, where much of your self-critical mind chatter happens. Taking psychedelics down-regulates this brain network.
  • Researchers describe the effect of psychedelics as "letting the brain off its leash", or firing the conductor to let the orchestra play. Without the default mode network acting as a dictator, areas of the brain that don't normally interact meet, producing phenomena like hallucinations and synesthesia.
  • An overactive ego may be what punishes those of us plagued with anxiety, addiction and mental health disorders. Psychedelics can have a beneficial effect by temporarily killing the ego, jogging the brain out of negative thinking patterns.
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#9: Depression is different for everyone. Here's what it's like for me. | Top 10 2019

The countdown continues! In this video, comedian Pete Holmes likens depression to quicksand and provides a method to help you cope and with it.

  • Big Think's #9 most popular video of 2019 illustrates that everyone's experience with depression is different, but for comedian Pete Holmes the key to living with depression has been to observe his own thoughts in an impartial way.
  • Holmes' method, taught to him by psychologist and spiritual leader Ram Dass, is to connect to his base consciousness and think about himself and his emotions in the third person.
  • You can't push depression away, but you can shift your mindset to help better cope with depression, anxiety, and negative emotions. If you feel depressed, you can connect with a crisis counselor anytime in the US.
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