2023

  • How a Book on Negative Thinking Made Me 20% Happier

    How a Book on Negative Thinking Made Me 20% Happier

    There’s one passage from The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman that has been a more potent wake-up call for my happiness than blasting trumpets, buckets of icy water, and a double espresso shot combined. It goes like this: The startling conclusion at which they [reputable psychologists and philosophers] had all arrived, in different ways, was this:…

  • Loneliness Isn’t Your Fault: How Genes and Modernity Make Us Lonely

    Loneliness Isn’t Your Fault: How Genes and Modernity Make Us Lonely

    I’m so stupid. It’s all my fault. How could I let this happen to me? My thoughts spun like a carousel as I walked along an empty beach, somewhere in the North of Portugal. Waves crashed into the shore like relentless soldiers storming sandcastles. Hungry seagulls screamed into the salty air. Grains of sand shimmered in…

  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport: 5 Lessons to Tame Technology

    Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport: 5 Lessons to Tame Technology

    “I finally finished it!” my brother told me on a train headed to the north of Germany. By “it,” I could tell, he meant Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. Not just because I had recommended the book to him a few months prior, but also because there was a smugness in his voice that probably…

  • How to Actually Know You’re Lonely

    How to Actually Know You’re Lonely

    In the summer of 2017, I got lonely without knowing it. I remember feeling uneasy at the time. Anxious, restless, constantly craving distractions. But loneliness? I didn’t even consider it. A few weeks earlier, I had moved away from home and into a one-bedroom apartment. It was my first time living all alone. And I’d…

  • A Non-Minimalist Guide to Curbing Impulse Purchases

    A Non-Minimalist Guide to Curbing Impulse Purchases

    Of all the advice minimalism sprinkles into the world, I’ve always found one area particularly unsatisfying and one-dimensional: impulse purchases. Conventional tips include: Delay the purchase. Stick to your budget. Shop with a plan. Sure, these things might pamper ascetics or seasoned minimalists, but they never worked for me. Isn’t it the very nature of…

  • The Stigma of Loneliness: Why It’s So Hard to Admit We’re Lonely

    The Stigma of Loneliness: Why It’s So Hard to Admit We’re Lonely

    “I don’t believe the cure for loneliness is meeting someone, not necessarily. I think it’s about two things: learning how to befriend yourself and understanding that many of the things that seem to afflict us as individuals are in fact a result of larger forces of stigma and exclusion which can and should be resisted.”…

  • Dopamine Nation: 5 Lessons on Pain, Pleasure, and Balance

    Dopamine Nation: 5 Lessons on Pain, Pleasure, and Balance

    When I was stuck in a deep rut and YouTube rabbit hole a few months ago, I randomly came across an interview with Dr. Anna Lembke — a psychiatrist, author, and addiction specialist. Unexpectedly, I heard her say something that pierced through my apathetic slumber: “We’ve reached a tipping point where abundance itself has become a physiological…

  • The Problem with the Growth Mindset

    The Problem with the Growth Mindset

    This year, I had two exam periods that couldn’t have been more different. During the first one, I was highly committed. I had to confront five exams in four days — which included studying the most difficult philosophical text I’d ever read, the entire history of Romance languages, and the perfidious grammar of the Portuguese conjuntivo. But…

  • How Loneliness Impairs the Brain (and 4 Ways to Recover)

    How Loneliness Impairs the Brain (and 4 Ways to Recover)

    Kaboom! Before the young man could realize what he’d done, a tamping rod half his size blasted through his left cheek, exited the top of his skull, and landed a train car’s length away from him. The year was 1848. The place was a railway construction site in Vermont. The man was Phineas Gage. What…

  • How Two Boring Sentences Helped Me Stop Feeling Lost

    How Two Boring Sentences Helped Me Stop Feeling Lost

    “Can I be frank?” The lady across from me looked up from the forms in her hand and peeked over the half-moon glasses that throned on her pointy nose. I stared at her like a deer caught in headlights, petrified. After an awkward silence, she allowed herself to proceed. “You seem a little…” Oh no,…