Every evil deed, every example of heartlessness in the world, stems directly from this false sense of "me" as distinct from everything else. If you explode the illusion of that one concept, your whole universe changes. Don't expect to be able to do this overnight, though. You spent your whole life building up that concept, reinforcing it with every thought, word, and deed over all those years. It is not going to evaporate instantly. But it will pass if you give it enough time and attention. Vipassana meditation is a process by which that concept is dissolved. Little by little, you chip away at it, just by observing it. The "I" concept is a process. It is something we are constantly doing. With vipassana we learn to see that we are doing it, when we are doing it, and how we are doing it. Then that mindset moves and fades away, like a cloud passing through a clear sky. We are left in a state where we can decide to do it or not, whichever seems appropriate to the situation. The compulsiveness is gone: now we have a choice. Hopefully, you're encouraged by what you've just read about the impact of sleep on depression. After all, there are so many things you can do to get a better night's sleep. Take steps toward improved sleep quality by doing the following: For the next two weeks, keep a sleep log. Record what time you went to bed, what time you got up in the morning, and whether you experienced sleep disruptions during the night (if so, note how many disruptions and for how long). Also, observe how you felt during the day. Pay attention to any correlations between the quality of your sleep and the quality of your moods.

Conduct a light audit of your bedroom. Note all sources of light. You'll see big offenders (like digital clocks) right away. Now pay attention to more subtle sources like switches on power strips, the status light on your smoke alarm, a nightlight in the bathroom, or a streetlight outside the bedroom window. Reduce or eliminate what you can. If you haven't done so already, begin leaving your phone in another room, where the glow or vibrations won't disturb you. Maintain a regular, relaxing nighttime routine. Begin your wind-down process at least thirty minutes before going to bed. Write down two or three things you can incorporate into a nightly routine that facilitate relaxation. Keep your list where you can see it during the day as a reminder to follow the same routine each evening. Assess the sleep hygiene suggestions provided in this chapter. Choose one of the suggestions you don't utilize and incorporate it over the next week. Then move on to another sound-sleep practice. Stay on track with accountability and encouragement. Enlist the help of a "better sleep" ally. Discuss the ideas in this chapter and your personal action plan with your spouse, a family member, a roommate, or a friend. Agree to encourage each other to take small steps toward improved sleep habits. Whether or not your sleep ally struggles with depression, pretty much anyone can profit from a better night's sleep, and your friend will benefit from the mutual encouragement as much as you will. And other people will like that which they aspire to be as well. If you can become that ideal friend, partner, family member or co-worker, you will always be the most likable man or woman in the room.

Likeability is being part of the team--someone who everyone loves and admires, but it's also about setting yourself apart as someone who has something amazingly valuable to offer. It could be your crazy sense of humor, or your ability to talk to anyone about anything (in any setting.) It could be your ability to make red velvet cupcakes, or your thoughtful habit of making gifts for everyone at the office, several times a year, "just because." (Talk about a likeable trait!) In order to really begin using the techniques and exercises you'll find in this book, my clients have found this one exercise in particular to be a great beginner exercise to start doing. Take out a piece of paper, and a pen, and set aside about twenty minutes, free of distraction. Set the timer (only twenty minutes, so you don't start crossing things off or thinking too hard.) Write down as many things as you can about your personality that you love, are proud of, or simply make you, you'. <a href='http://hns.teamblog.jp/b/index10.html'>Examples</a> could be: "my love for taking pictures," or "my past experiences with traveling the world," etc. <a href='http://hns.teamblog.jp/b/index11.html'>Include</a> lessons you've learned, perspectives on different areas of your life (what have you learned about people, love, the opposite sex, yourself?) Over the next week or two, feel free to add to this list. <a href='http://hns.teamblog.jp/b/index12.html'>Tape</a> it up on your bedroom wall, refrigerator door or bathroom mirror and look at it every day. <a href='http://hns.teamblog.jp/b/index13.html'>Remind</a> yourself of how great you are, how awesome you've become, how smart and wise life experience has made you. <a href='http://hns.teamblog.jp/b/index14.html'>Re-read</a> your list twice a day: once when you are getting ready for work in the morning, and once right before bed. <a href='http://hns.teamblog.jp/b/index15.html'>Somehow,</a> as a society, we have come to the conclusion that to protect children from danger and to educate them, we must deprive them of the very activity that makes them happiest and place them for ever more hours in settings where they are more or less continually directed and evaluated by adults, settings almost designed to produce anxiety and depression. <a href='http://hns.teamblog.jp/b/index16.html'>When</a> considering the state of modern childhood, Ryan believes many kids aren't getting enough of the three essential psychological nutrients--autonomy, competence, and relatedness--in their offline lives. <a href='http://hns.teamblog.jp/b/index17.html'>Not</a> surprisingly, our kids go looking for substitutes online. <a href='http://hns.teamblog.jp/b/index18.html'>"We</a> call this theneed density hypothesis,'" says Ryan. "The more you're not getting needs satisfied in life, reciprocally, the more you're going to get them satisfied in virtual realities." Ryan's research leads him to believe that "overuse [of technology] is a symptom, one indicative of some emptiness in other areas of life, like school and home." When these three needs are met, people are more motivated, perform better, persist longer, and exhibit greater creativity. Ryan isn't against setting limits on tech use but thinks such limits should be set with the child, and not arbitrarily enforced because you think you know best. "Part of what you want your kid to get from that is not just less screen time, but an understanding of why," he says. The more you talk with your kids about the costs of too much tech use and the more you make decisions with them, as opposed to for them, the more willing they will be to listen to your guidance. We can start by sharing some of the coping and reimagining tactics we learned in part one. Let your children know what you're doing differently in your own life to manage distraction; being vulnerable and showing kids that we understand their struggle and face similar challenges helps build trust. Just as we saw in the previous section how good bosses model disconnecting from distraction, parents should model how to be indistractable.

We may also want to consider providing real-world opportunities for children to find the autonomy, competence, and relatedness they need. Easing up on structured academic or athletic activities and giving them more time for free play may help them find the connections they otherwise look for online. We can't solve all our kids' troubles--nor should we attempt to--but we can try to better understand their struggles through the lens of their psychological needs. Knowing what's really driving their overuse of technology is the first step to helping kids build resilience instead of escaping discomfort through distraction. Once our kids feel understood, they can begin planning how best to spend their time. In effect, mass hysterias and delusions have occurred throughout the years, where false or exaggerated beliefs are rapidly spread throughout a segment of society.35 Why do they happen? One reason is that our perceptions can be faulty, and when those misperceptions are combined with our inherent suggestibility, weird beliefs can prevail, even when there is no hard evidence. Neurobiological research is uncovering many reasons for our misperceptions of the world. It turns out that perception is dependent upon a number of interacting brain functions, and that problems can arise in any one of them. For example, research suggests that there are approximately thirty distinct visual areas in the brain, and that these areas specialize in perceiving different attributes, such as depth, motion, color, and so on.36 If a person experiences damage to the middle temporal area of the brain, she can suffer from "motion blindness." Such individuals can identify objects, people, and even read books. But if a car is passing by on the street, they see a series of static strobelike snapshots, instead of continuous motion. Pouring coffee for them is an ordeal because it's difficult to estimate how fast the coffee is rising in a cup. Neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran and science writer Sandra Blakeslee report on a number of bizarre perceptions that occur because of damage in certain parts of the brain.37 Individuals experiencing these hallucinations are not mentally ill; going to a psychiatrist would be a waste of time. They are rational and lucid, but their perceptions are flawed. For example, people with damage to their visual pathways can suffer from Charles Bonnet syndrome. They are often partially or completely blind, yet they experience vivid hallucinations that seem more real than reality. Author James Thurber was shot in the eye with a toy arrow when he was six years old. Blind by age thirty-five, he started hallucinating brilliant images, which could have been the basis for his outrageous stories and cartoons.

One woman saw cartoon characters in a large blind spot that developed in her field of vision, while another saw miniature policemen leading a little person to a tiny police van. Others with Charles Bonnet syndrome have seen ghostly figures, dragons, shining angels, little circus animals, and elves. Consider the amazing case of Larry, a Charles Bonnet patient. Larry was twenty-seven when he had a car accident that fractured the frontal bones above his eyes. When he came out of a coma he said, "The world was filled with hallucinations, both visual and auditory. I couldn't distinguish what was real from what was fake. Doctors and nurses standing next to my bed were surrounded by football players and Hawaiian dancers. Voices came at me from everywhere and I couldn't tell who was talking." He slowly improved, except for one amazing problem. He could see perfectly normal in the top half of his vision, but he had vivid hallucinations in the bottom half, where he was blind. When Dr. Ramachandran interviewed him, Larry said, "As I look at you, there is a monkey sitting in your lap." He said that the images fade after a few seconds, but when they're there, they are vibrant and extraordinarily vivid. In fact, they look too good to be true. As he said, "Sometimes when I'm looking for my shoes in the morning, the whole floor suddenly is covered with shoes," making it hard to find the real ones.38 These are all major insights. Each one is a deep-reaching understanding of one of the fundamental issues of human existence. They do not occur quickly, nor without considerable effort. But the payoff is big. They lead to a total transformation of your life. Every second of your existence thereafter is changed. The meditator who pushes all the way down this track achieves perfect mental health, a pure love for all that lives, and complete cessation of suffering. That is no small goal.