Total read time: 7 minutes.

I promised I wouldn’t write plans on minimal changes. I would only share lessons from my personal breakthroughs.This is my first for 2013. Let me start with this..

Willpower, positive thinking and the mind over matter stuff is overrated.

For almost two years I’ve been battling depression. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or know me personally you might have a clue on what the reason is.

Since then, I’ve been reading mind over matter books, the Bible, Stoic philosophy, Norman Vincent Peal’s The Power of Positive Thinking, which led me to read the Bible more.

I recite Tyler Durden’s line when he was giving advice to Edward Norton when he lost everything in Fight Club.

You know man, it could be worse. A woman can cut off your penis while you're sleeping and toss it at the window of a moving car.
Despite fully believing in Leo's advice to toss my expectations into the ocean or the Bible's advice that God is in control and acts with my good in mind and a bazillion other verses that have the same message, my mind always comes back to tell me and convince me how crappy my situation is. All that effort and mental gymnastics and still the depression lingered. In fact remembering the cause of my depression in the morning would cause me to be depressed and unable to make my mind and body cooperate with myself for the entire day. If I was able to make something happen it was insanely hard for me to do so and my attitude was that I was whining and complaining and my head was full of negative thoughts and reruns of memories I'd rather not revisit.

I tell myself I have to do so and so then I get an “I don’t feel like it” response from my mind then my head gets flooded with depressing thoughts. Everyday went by with me dragging myself forward. It it weren’t for my inability to cry I would be crying everyday. I did cry mostly in my dreams though. I remember waking up several times remembering a dream that all I did was cry.

The best laid plans ended in self sabotage and the small glitches in my life were left to rot and eventually the damage was irreparable. I was physically pushing a car instead of driving it.

I do wherever I can to keep myself sane. I go on vacations, road trips and sleepovers with friends in their homes to shift my mind and environment constantly. I’m forever grateful to my friends both old and new. My favorites were the girl who only went to restaurant that had healthy food and mostly avoided sweets. I learned to eat less rice because of her. She also taught me to control my spending impulse since we weren’t spending much despite going out a lot. Then there was this girl who was the exact opposite and let me stayed at her place and made me dinner. She got me more curious about cooking because she forced me away from the kitchen area and didn’t let me watch her prepare the food. I ended up writing my best posts on my different blogs while waiting for the food to cook at her apartment. Then there was this girl who’s boyfriend had left her. We hanged out trying different restaurants and tea places. We shared good stories of date ideas and fun times with past partners. I felt like shifting my environment consistently and having a large variety of people to go out with had helped me cope but whenever I returned to my usual locations the depression returned. I added more people to the mix to distract myself.

In the last half of 2012 I was reading the Four Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss. I was thinking that to attract the kind of girl I liked I needed to be attractive and smart girls are attracted by skills and good conversations. Interesting enough, I’m immediately repelled by party girls with short attention spans.

I got hooked on accelerated learning and since then I’ve been trying out the skills in the book. I made stove top Rosemary Pistachio White Chocolate Chip Cookies and I was able to recreate the Thai Style mixed seafood dish from my favorite Thai restaurant. I was also revisiting the skills I gave up on like learning to play the guitar and speaking German.

At the end of 2012, my dad took us to Eastwood to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We stayed at an all you can eat buffet restaurant. I ate something like eight plates of oysters, shrimp, ox tongue, roast beef, ribs, deep fried pork and many more. I decided that it would be good motivation to restart my slow carb diet since I feel pretty suck after what I ate.

As I was writing my shopping list, I revisited my copy of The Four Hour Body and reread some of the pointers of the slow carb diet. While browsing the book, I read a case study about Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, often referred to as the second brain, that is found in the gut and have studies about it related to depression, stress and anxiety. The study had a conclusion that probiotics especially lactobacillus shirota strain is particularly good at maintaining healthy serotonin levels. I thought to myself that if this helps my diet and my depression it would be awesome. I decided to start an experiment and bought Yakult, a local probiotic drink that advertised had Lactobacillus Shirota Strain. I took Yakult for a week and shifted toward a capsule form (Gastro Flora, which has Lactobacillus Cassei spores) since other people in the house were attacking my stash in the fridge. I asked my friends who worked in the medical industry and they confirmed that serotonin is related to the studies I mentioned. As I write this, it is the fourth week of my probiotic experiment and since the start of week two, no negative thought stayed in my head longer than three seconds. I still do get hit by negative thoughts but it doesn’t flood my head with anger or negative thoughts nor renders me unable to move.

I came to the conclusion that if you want to feel better take better care of body. I have been neglecting my body and as a result it had broken down.

Extended bouts of depression and lack of discipline or drive is a result of poor eating and sleeping habits.

My past belief was that the mind and fighting spirit can go through anything. What I failed to add to the equation was that my body is part of the mind and that having a healthy body will allow me to work on whatever I want to create in this reality.

I’m starting week four of my probiotic experiment and my slow carb diet. I feel a lot better about everything.

I no longer wrestle with myself to move forward. Hate doesn’t fill me. I put my positive thinking books back in the shelf. I only read the Bible now. My head no longer finds the awesome advice repulsive. I also notice that I am more candid with others with my interaction and I am more compassionate. Logic has returned.

I’m no longer pushing a car to work everyday but driving it. All is well.

I’m interested in other effects of probiotics. If you are also experimenting on this let me know your stories.

Thank you for reading.

Note: This post is inspired after reading the Four Hour Chef and re-reading the Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. Check out Tim’s blog here.