Mental Illness Is Far More Common Than We Knew

New research suggests that nearly everyone will develop a psychological disorder at some point in their lives—but for most, it’s temporary

  • By Aaron Reuben, Jonathan Schaefer

Most of us know at least one person who has struggled with a bout of debilitating mental illness. Despite their familiarity, however, these kinds of episodes are typically considered unusual, and even shameful.

New research, from our lab and from others around the world, however, suggests mental illnesses are so common that almost everyone will develop at least one diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their lives. Most of these people will never receive treatment, and their relationships, job performance and life satisfaction will likely suffer. Meanwhile the few individuals who never seem to develop a disorder may offer psychology a new avenue of study, allowing researchers to ask what it takes to be abnormally, enduringly, mentally well.

Epidemiologists have long known that, at any given point in time, roughly 20 to 25 percent of the population suffers from a mental illness, which means they experience psychological distress severe enough to impair functioning at work, school or in their relationships. Extensive national surveys, conducted from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s, suggested that a much higher percentage, close to half the population, would experience a mental illness at some point in their lives.

These surveys were large, involving thousands of participants representative of the U.S. in age, sex, social class and ethnicity. They were also, however, retrospective, which means they relied on survey respondents’ accurate recollection of feelings and behaviors months, years and even decades in the past. Human memory is fallible, and modern science has demonstrated that people are notoriously inconsistent reporters about their own mental health history, leaving the final accuracy of these studies up for debate. Of further concern, up to a third of the people contacted by the national surveys failed to enroll in the studies.Follow-up tests suggested that these “nonresponders” tended to have worse mental health.

Our new study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology (whose very name suggests an outdated understanding of the prevalence of mental illness), took a different approach to estimating disease burden. Rather than ask people to think back many years in the past, we instead closely followed one generation of New Zealanders, all born in the same town, from birth to midlife. We conducted in-depth check-ins every few years to assess for evidence of mental illness occurring during the preceding year.

We found that if you follow people over time, and screen them regularly using simple, evidence-based tools, the percentage of people who develop a diagnosable mental illness at any point in their lives jumps to well over 80 percent. In our cohort only 17 percent of study members did not develop a disorder, at least briefly, by middle age. Because we can’t be certain these individuals remained disorder-free in the years between assessments, the true proportion that never experienced a mental illness may be even smaller.

Put another way, our study shows that you are more likely to experience a bout of mental illness than you are to develop diabetes, heart disease or any kind of cancer whatsoever—combined. These findings have been corroborated by data from other similar cohorts in New Zealand, Switzerland and the U.S.

If you ever develop a psychological disorder, many assume you will have it for life. The newest research suggests, for the most common psychological complaints, this is simply not true. “A substantial component of what we describe as disorder is often short-lived, of lesser severity or self-limiting,” says John Horwood, a psychiatric epidemiologist and director of the longitudinal Christchurch Health and Development Study in New Zealand. (Horwood has found that close to 85 percent of the Christchurch study members develop a diagnosable mental illness by midlife).

This may be a useful message to spread. According to Jason Siegel, a professor of social psychology at Claremont Graduate University, people tend to be more sympathetic and helpful when they believe that a friend or co-worker’s health problems are temporary.

And individuals with mental illness need support. Even short-lived or self-limiting disorders can wreak havoc on a person’s life. To be classified as having a disorder, “an individual typically has to meet fairly stringent symptom criteria,” Horwood says. “There needs to be substantial impairment of functioning.”

To some, though, the new statistics on mental illness rates can sound a lot like the overmedicalization of “normal” human experience. Advocates for individuals with mental health concerns tend to disagree with this perspective. “I’m not at all surprised by these findings,” commented Paul Gionfriddo, president of Mental Health America, a national advocacy group. His organization views mental illnesses as common, “though not always enduring.” Three years ago Mental Health America launched a Web-based tool to allow individuals to discreetly screen themselves for possible psychological disorders. Since then over two million people have used the tool, with over 3,000 people a day now logging on to determine if they may have a condition that could benefit from treatment.

The widespread nature of mental illness unearthed by careful longitudinal research holds some implications for the way we study and treat disease in this country. To Gionfriddo, a former lawmaker who watched his son end up homeless and incarcerated following undiagnosed childhood schizophrenia, “one implication of these new studies is that we as a society will get tremendous benefit out of ubiquitous mental health screening.”

Although the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force currently recommends mental health screening on a regular basis for everyone over age 11, such screening is still far from routine. “At a time when we have recognized the importance of early intervention for cancer or for diabetes or heart disease, why would we say, ‘Okay, for mental illness we aren’t going to screen or do early intervention’?” Gionfriddo says. “This should be as common for adults as blood pressure screening. Putting our head in the sand and waiting for a catastrophe is not a health care plan.”

Another implication stems from the fact that individuals who never develop a mental illness—those who experience what we call “enduring mental health”—are actually quite remarkable. These people may be the mental health equivalents of healthy centenarians: individuals who somehow manage to beat the odds and enjoy good health for much longer than we’d expect. It’s possible that studying the mentally robust more closely could provide insight into how we can help more people to enjoy lives like theirs.

Who are these extraordinary people? In our New Zealand cohort we found that those with enduring mental health tended to have two things going for them: First, they had little to no family history of mental illness and, second, they tended to have what we called “advantageous” personalities. As early as age five, individuals who would make it to midlife without an episode of mental disorder tended to display fewer negative emotions, get along better with their peers, and have greater self-control. Perhaps just as striking, we found that these individuals were not any richer, smarter or physically healthy than their peers, at least in childhood.

Ultimately, the most important suggestion from the newest research is that mental health concerns may be nearly universal. As a result, society should begin to view mental illnesses like bone breaks, kidney stones or common colds—as part of the normal wear and tear of life. Acknowledging this universality may allow us to finally devote adequate resources to screening, treating and preventing mental illnesses. It may also help us go easier on ourselves and our loved ones when we, inevitably, hit our own rough patches in the road.

8 warning signs of anxiety that most people do not consider

Chronic anxiety is a common anxiety disorder that constant worry, nervousness and tension entails. This goes far beyond worrying about a work project or to be nervous before a date. Chronic anxiety is an intense, persistent and excessive problem that are very disturbing can be a person’s daily life, including their health.

Anxiety causes constant anxiety, feelings of anxiety, inability to relax, and feeling overwhelmed. It is also very possible that fear manifests itself in physical symptoms, not only mental health, but also physical health.
Although the behavioral and emotional symptoms of chronic anxiety are more commonly known, the eight physical symptoms may also be symptoms of an anxiety disorder:

symptoms of an anxiety disorder

1. Muscle Pain

One of the most common physical symptoms associated with anxiety is muscle pain. Stress can cause muscle pain and inflammation.
2. Headaches

Headaches are other common physical symptoms of anxiety. Stress causes tension in the muscles that can cause headaches. Too much caffeine can also exacerbate headaches.

3. Fatigue

Chronic anxiety is very stressful. Stress caused by fear of the adrenal glands can, which play an important role in maintaining health and weaken the balance in the body. Fatigue can be the result of the reduction of the adrenal glands.
4. digestive problems

Chronic anxiety is associated with poor digestion, including irritable bowel syndrome. When the brain does not function properly, the digestive system may also experience problems. Serotonin, calming neurotransmitter in the brain, mainly in the gastrointestinal tract. Fear can lead to poor digestion and low levels of serotonin.

5. sugar cravings

Sugar stimulates a sense of fun to cause an accident. Those who suffer from anxiety may fear the emergence of sugar. They are looking for a nice feeling when stressed or upset.
6. sleep problems

Suffering from chronic anxiety can make it extremely difficult to relax or fall asleep. Brains quickly and not only has slowed down, as it is time to sleep. Those who fear to fight to “activate their brains” night.
7. Mood changes

When the brain is full of negative or disturbing thoughts, patience is reduced. People with chronic anxiety can break the trend or hire someone who needs attention.
8. Lack of Focus

A person with anxiety may have difficulty concentrating or concentrating, because brains generate a million other things. A person may try to work, but his mind is elsewhere.

There is no quick fix for an anxiety disorder, but a healthy, balanced lifestyle can help keep your symptoms under control. If you fight against terrorism, visit a health professional and consider the possibility of these important changes in life:

Get enough
Limit caffeine
Avoid alcohol and nicotine
Eat a healthy and balanced diet
Regular exercise
Try Meditation
Practice Deep Breathing
Set a reasonable schedule
Identify unhealthy relationships
Talk when you start feeling overwhelmed
Do not avoid those when you feel anxious

14 Things To Remember When You Love A Person With Anxiety

It wasn’t until the past few years I realized how badly I suffered from anxiety. Simple things like waiting to hear back from someone or anticipating how something could turn out would leave my stomach in knots and my heart and mind racing. Now that I understand what anxiety is and how to help alleviate it, I understand a little bit better when I’m experiencing it. I don’t pretend to know all the answers when it comes to anxiety or mental health, and I understand my experience isn’t universal, but I hope these things can help anyone who loves someone else with anxiety and for the person with anxiety to realize they aren’t alone.

1. It’s not just all in their head and they can’t just “get over” anxiety.

Over 40 million people have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder but those numbers don’t report the other people who suffer with it every day without reporting it to their doctor.Anxiety is not something that can be cured with a simple “everything will be alright. there’s nothing to worry about.” The thing about anxiety is that nobody’s entirely sure where it comes from or what causes it. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) explains, “Panic disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some people have it, while others don’t.”

2. Anxiety is an overwhelming experience.

Anxiety can leave a person feeling like their whole world is caving in. The first time I had a panic attack I was a teenager in a large shopping center with my mother. Suddenly, my mind was racing. I was sweating. The store suddenly felt very small and all of my senses were heightened. I felt like I was going to faint. My mom couldn’t understand it and I couldn’t understand it at the time either. We were just standing in an aisle while she was shopping for something. What was the problem?

When someone is experiencing anxiety, or when they suddenly have a panic attack, they get into a hyper-sense state where suddenly everything becomes very loud and very bright to them. The environment suddenly becomes a very overwhelming place.

3. Telling your loved one to “relax,” “calm down,” or that something is “no big deal” doesn’t help their anxiety. Sometimes, it only makes it worse.

When someone tells you they’re worried or anxious about something, listen to what they’re saying. Let them explain why something has them all at sea. Hear them out and try to understand from their point of view why they’re feeling the way they do. It’s understandable that people want to provide solutions or express to their loved one that whatever is causing them anxiety is actually not a huge deal, and it may not be, but in the moment when an anxious person is at the height of their emotion, telling them to relax only makes them feel like you’re brushing aside something that is very real to them.

4. Not every anxious person is triggered by the same thing, and often, anxiety has no obvious triggers at all.

Something that’s fun or enjoyable for you could have the complete opposite effect on someone with anxiety. For example, one of my anxiety triggers is being in large crowds. This is a problem for me because I love going to concerts and hearing live music.

A couple weeks ago I went to a music festival with a co-worker and in the middle of trying to leave after Drake performed, we were body to body with 50,000 people, all trying to leave the festival. We couldn’t move and we were in a stand still. Immediately, my mind started racing, thinking about how this was a dangerous situation to be in, and about how many times I’ve heard of fatal incidences at music festivals where people were in this exact situation, and about how all I wanted was to get out and away from everyone. This was all going through my head, whereas my co-worker thought it was fun and awesome to be in the crowd with everyone.

Later, when I told one of my friends about it who has anxiety, she said, “Oh, interesting. Being around a lot of people doesn’t bother me. It’s when I’m faced with being in a one-on-one situation with someone, like if my friend randomly invites a new person to get drinks and leaves me alone with them, and then there’s uncomfortable silence because I’m too awkward to make conversation – THAT’S what sends me into an instant panic until I have to excuse myself and go to the bathroom or escape the situation.”

Basically, what I’m saying is, not every anxious person’s experience is universal. We all experience anxiety differently, albeit in similar ways. Although someone can be self-aware of what factors seem to heighten their anxiety (drinking coffee, for example), there are no particular things you can predict that will engage a panic attack. They can come completely out of nowhere.

5. Sometimes they just need to be alone.

There are times when your loved one might decline to hang out over the weekend or with your friends so that they can be alone to decompress and just be by themselves. Try to remember to not take this personal. Remember their anxiety isn’t a reflection on you or your relationship with them. People who deal with anxiety often just need more time to work things out in their head and think about everything going on in their life, especially if they’ve been particularly stressed lately.

6. They understand their fears can be irrational at times.

They know there are plenty of times when their anxiety makes absolutely no sense. Even if you both discuss the reality of the situation, their thought process is still thinking about the worse outcomes.

7. It can be difficult for them to let go of their fears.

Even if they’ve talked it all through and they rationally understand there’s nothing to be anxious about, it can still be incredibly hard for them to let of the mindset there isn’t something wrong.

8. If they open up to you about their anxiety, consider it a huge sign of trust.

One of the hardest parts of dealing with anxiety is feeling like you can’t talk about it. The stigma that surrounds mental health is difficult to deal with because it makes those who have been diagnosed with a disorder feel like they’re weird and shouldn’t be open about their experience. If your loved one opens up to you about their anxiety, it’s a sign they feel comfortable and open enough with you to be honest about a significant part of their life.

9. You won’t always be able to tell when they’re dealing with anxiety.

Just because someone is feeling extremely anxious, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be sitting there outwardly displaying signs of an anxious person. Many times people with anxiety suffer silently because they don’t want to make a big deal out of something or because, well, it can be embarrassing to admit. There have been times where I’ve been at a party and a friend has told me quietly they needed to leave because they were feeling anxious. If they wouldn’t have said anything I probably wouldn’t have guessed anything was wrong.

Remember that even people who seem totally fine can be battling a war inside their mind.

10. You might not understand the ways they practice self-care.

Self-care is one of the most important things when going through a stressful time, and it’s the little things that can make them feel better. Maybe it’s doing a deep clean of the apartment or a closet, organizing books in a bookshelf by genre vs. alphabetical. You might think it’s odd that the best way your loved one feels better is by cleaning the dishes, but many times these kind of activities are a form of meditation and help soothe the anxiety.

11. It’s important you remember to practice your own self-care as well.

Just because the person you love deals with anxiety, it doesn’t mean you have to walk on eggshells around them. They understand it can be a lot to deal with sometimes and they’re grateful to have someone who cares about them. They don’t expect you to forgive all of their flaws or mistakes – that’s where patience and understanding are truly appreciated. But if things become too draining for you, you must also decide for yourself what your limits are in your relationship with them and where your boundaries lie. Whatever you do though, if at any point you think this person has too much baggage or too many issues for you, end it there. Don’t lead them on into thinking you’re someone they can count on.

12. Don’t feel like it’s up to you to solve all of their problems.

You and the love you give are not the solution to your loved one’s anxiety, but it can certainly aid as a balm. They don’t expect you to solve something in their brain they don’t even understand themselves and it’s important to remember this so you don’t feel burdened. Being someone that is simply there for them and listens to what they’re going through can often be all they need to feel understood and cared for.

13. They need strong and stable relationships to truly thrive.

Relationships that are back and forth and fail to offer any real support, stability, or longevity can make them feel unable to really connect with someone. They need their partner or loved one to keep them grounded and make them feel safe.

14. They might never be like anyone else – and that’s okay!

Just because someone lives with anxiety, it doesn’t mean that their anxiety defines them, and it isn’t something that has to be seen as this great, overwhelming presence that dominates your connection with them. Be there for them. Listen to their fears, their concerns, their thoughts. Seek understanding and communicate. This person might not be like anyone else in your life but isn’t that one of the most beautiful things about loving them?


The toxic relationship you choose to stay in will gradually rob you of every ounce of happiness you have and make you a victim of PTSD.

Via The DailyHunt

Aren’t others often too quick to judge a woman who chooses to stay with an emotionally (and at times physically) abusive partner? “You are being stupid”, they tell you. “Why can’t you think straight?”, they ask in disbelief. Why would anyone voluntarily stay with a person who does not treat them well, they wonder.

Believe it or not, it is not easy to let go of someone you love. But chances are that the same “love” is slowly killing you. The toxic relationship you choose to stay in will gradually rob you of every ounce of happiness you have and make you a victim of PTSD.

1. A Very Normal, Even Romantic Beginning Majority of abusive relationships do not start off on an abusive note. There is always love and romance in the beginning. Chances are that he is the most charming guy you have ever met.

His possessiveness would make you secretly happy. His short temper would seem exciting. He got angry? So what, he’s just passionate. He doesn’t let you go out with your friends? That’s okay, it is because he is concerned. He raised his voice? It’s fine, because it was your fault. The list will slowly start getting longer, without you even noticing it, and so would the excuses you make for him.

2. Trying Your Best To Keep Things From Falling Apart The first thing every woman who is in love would try is to work things out, to keep the ugly side hidden, to ignore the fact that everything is not fine. A dig at your expense in front of his friends, shouting at you in front of the children, finding fault with everything you do- everything is buried deep inside you. You tell yourself he is just having a bad day. When he slaps you for the first time, you are shocked, but you decide to let it pass- it is because he cares, you try to convince yourself. You start wearing long sleeves to cover your bruises, your bloodshot eyes become constantly hidden behind your shades. You start making excuses to skip social events. You cut contacts. Your friends isolate you.

3. Finding Reasons To Stay You tell yourself you are staying in the name of love- won’t it be weak to just throw all this away just because he gets angry now and then? You hang back, thinking it’s for the children- how could my children grow up without their father? You cling on because you are financially unstable-what would I do without a job? You suffer silently thinking what would others say. The reasons to stay will be endless, though it is very clear the primary thing you ought to do is leave.

4. What It Does To You Living with someone that is abusive can mess with your mind and body. It can emotionally cripple you, rob you of self esteem, and make you forget what it was to be happy. You may stay, thinking you are doing it for the children, but there is a bigger possibility of you scarring them for life by forcing them to live in an abusive environment. There is even a chance that you stay because your partner has drilled in the idea that you are worthless without him; that you won’t make it on your own.

5. When It’s High Time To Take A Decision One day you open your eyes and you realize you are neck deep in water. The little droplets you thought were harmless have joined together, flooding your life. You look in the mirror and see a stranger who has forgotten how to smile, whose eyes have lost their luster, who stopped dreaming a long time ago, who put her whole life on pause to save a relationship that is not worth saving. You come in terms with the fact that your relationship has been poisoning you for years, slowly pushing you over the edge. What happened to the strong, independent woman who used to be in charge of of her life once upon a time?

6. Realizing That PTSD Is Slowly Creeping Upon You Often it’s the psychological abuse that shatters the willpower of a woman. Black eyes and bloody noses would heal, but the emotional scars would never fade away. It won’t be long before you are overcome by stress and depression. PTSD would drain all life out of you. The key is to get help as soon as you realize your life is spiraling before you. Go for therapy, get counselled, convince yourself that you are strong enough to leave, vow that your sons would never have to witness their father abusing their mother again, promise yourself that your daughters need to grow up without fear, tell yourself it is okay to let go. Most importantly, realize the fact that you stayed because you were strong, and that it’s high time you moved on- you don’t have to prove anything to your own hero and find happiness yourself.

I Feel Like Shit Sometimes, And It’s OK


Lately I read Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck. Great read!

One thing that really inspired me was his Feedback Loop from Hell. I know, badass name. So today you’ll learn why you actually should give a fuck about this. It’s quite interesting.

*Caution, there’s a lot of swearing in this post.

“There’s an insidious quirk to your brain that, if you let it, can drive you absolutely batty.”

“Let’s say you have an anger problem. You get pissed off at the stupidest, most inane stuff, and you have no idea why. And the fact that you get pissed off so easily starts to piss you off even more. And then, in your petty rage, you realize that being angry all the time makes you a shallow and mean person, and you hate this; you hate it so much that you get angry at yourself. Now look at you: you’re angry at yourself getting angry about being angry. Fuck you, wall. Here, have a fist.”

Who hasn’t been there or has at least witnessed a similar situation?

Fuck, that’s me. Here, table, feel my fist. Aaargh.

Welcome to the Feedback Loop from Hell.

The idea is simple: Because we humans can think about what we think, we can also not like what we think or what we feel. We can even not like what we think about what we think – that’s when you catch yourself being angry at yourself getting angry about being angry. That’s when you realize that you’re engaging in the Feedback Loop from Hell and call yourself a loser for doing it.

Let me tell you an example from my last holiday in the Swedish wilderness with my brothers. I sometimes observed myself losing my calm (there was quite some provocation going on). And as I realized it, I lost my calm about losing my calm. It’s not that I flew into a rage. But observing me losing my calm triggered something in me. Probably because I’ve seen myself as a calm person and also because I was reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth at the time and therefore wanted to be a calm person. So when I observed that I’m not acting how I wanted to act made me first of all realize that I’m not where I want to be (feedback) and also it made me feel worse about myself. That’s a classic case of the feedback loop from hell. What’s positive was the observing in the first place. That’s how you can improve yourself.

A friend told me that she’s worrying a lot. And that she’s worried about herself worrying too much.

Sounds a bit crazy but it’s absolutely normal.

Another example: We all have this friend who’s scared of talking to the hot blonde at the bar. And when he realizes he either has got a great excuse (nah, she’s not thaat hot) or he gets anxious about being anxious (Damn, I really shit my pants for no reason. I’m such a scaredy pants. But why?).

Point is, we all do that.

The Feedback Loop from Hell

The Feedback Loop from Hell.

It’s okay not to feel like a Superstar

“Now here’s the problem: Our society today, through the wonders of consumer culture and hey-look-my-life-is-cooler-than-yours social media, has bred a whole generation of people who believe that having these negative experiences — anxiety, fear, guilt, etc. — is totally not okay.”

But it is.

It’s okay to feel like shit sometimes. And, we shouldn’t make ourselves feel even shittier just for feeling like shit.

Just because everybody’s only posting their happy experiences on Facebook doesn’t mean that’s always the case. (Lately I stumbled upon this funny Unilad video ‘Instagram vs reality’ which shows this bluntly.)

The feedback loop from hell makes us overly stressed, neurotic and self-loathing. We don’t like ourselves. We’re unhappy with ourselves being unhappy instead of just accepting that it’s okay to feel that way sometimes. (Check out Nils’ article to learn about the negative effects of self-criticism.)

Sure, it sucks when you wake up feeling depressed. But it sucks even more and makes things worse when you blame yourself for feeling that way. It’s better to admit that you’re feeling that way and say it’s okay.

Right now, I feel like a fart. But it’s fine.

“Back in Grandpa’s day, he would feel like shit and think to himself, ‘Gee whiz, I sure do feel like a cow turd today. But hey, I guess that’s just life. Back to shoveling hay.’”

“This is why not giving a fuck is so key. This is why it’s going to save the world. And it’s going to save it by accepting that the world is totally fucked and that’s all right, because it’s always been that way, and always will be.”

“By not giving a fuck that you feel bad, you short-circuit the feedback loop from hell; you say to yourself, ‘I feel like shit, but who gives a fuck?’ And then, as if sprinkled by magic fuck-giving fairy dust, you stop hating yourself for feeling so bad.”

The Feedback Loop From Hell Broken

The Feedback Loop from Hell broken simply by asking yourself, “Who gives a fuck?”

Simple: Don’t give a fuck when you’re not feeling great. Because it’s ok.

Choose your fucks wisely

Mark Manson argues that we have way too much stuff so that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore. In our social media world there are uncountable ways to find out that we don’t measure up, that we’re not good enough, and that things aren’t as great as they could be. And this rips us apart inside.

We give way too many fucks about the things we don’t have.

“Look, this is how it works. You’re going to die one day. I know that’s kind of obvious, but I just wanted to remind you in case you’d forgotten. You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice – well, then you’re going to get fucked.”

“There is a subtle art to not giving a fuck. And though the concept may sound ridiculous and I may sound like an asshole, what I’m talking about here is essentially learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively – how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values. This is incredibly difficult. It takes a lifetime of practice and discipline to achieve it. And you will regularly fail. But it is perhaps the most worthy struggle one can undertake in one’s life. It is perhaps the only struggle in one’s life.”

Point is: Don’t give a fuck about every little shit out there. Does it matter? Not really, so why give a fuck about it? Look at things in perspective. What does it matter when you step on a dog shit and look at your whole life in perspective to it? Literally, shit happens and it’s ok. Right, it sucks, but no fucks given.

“The problem with people who hand out fucks like ice cream at a goddamn summer camp is that they don’t have anything more fuck-worthy to dedicate their fucks to.”

What does it matter when the driver in front of you only drives 55 instead of 60? What does it matter when your neighbor moans like a moose once a month? What does it matter when your mother-in-law doesn’t say ‘thank you’ for your gift? Who gives a fuck? Just make sure you don’t drive too slowly, and you don’t moan loudly, and you say ‘thank you’ when you get a gift (or you don’t, no fucks given on trivialities).

We don’t control everything out there. But you can control what to actually give a fuck about. Choose your fucks wisely.

In terms of the Feedback Loop from Hell that means that it’s completely fine that things suck sometimes. Just don’t give too many fucks about it because it will only make things worse. In many cases it’s probably best not to give a fuck about something in the first place, but when you catch yourself doing it, it’s ok. Let it be.

For example, when you catch yourself getting pissed off about the slow driver in front of you, don’t get even more pissed off just because you got pissed off in the first place.

The pissed off feeling will go away as soon as you let go. When you catch yourself getting pissed off and then say to yourself “Who gives a fuck?” the negative feeling will vanish.

We must realize that things suck sometimes, some more and some less. When you get comfortable with the idea that life sometimes throws shit in your face, you get what Mark Manson calls ‘practically enlightened’.

All this doesn’t mean to let go of everything and not giving a fuck about anything. There are still many things you should actually care about. And give a fuck about. You know, the most important things in your life. Your family and friends. The environment. You. The things you love. Whatever that may be.

3-Bullet Summary

  • It’s okay to feel like shit sometimes. Admit it and ask “Who gives a fuck?” and it won’t matter anymore.
  • Choose wisely what you want to give a fuck about. Don’t hand out fucks like ice cream. It’s all about prioritization and the realization that you cannot control everything.
  • Let go of the idea that life is a petting zoo. It’s not. You’ll step into shit sometimes. And if not, shit will step into you. Get comfortable with that.

Do with that whatever the fuck you wanna do.

Posted by Jonas Salzgeber