You want to get rid of all psychological annoyances to make your life truly peaceful and happy. The mind cannot be purified without seeing things as they really are. "Seeing things as they really are" is such a heavily loaded and ambiguous phrase. Many beginning meditators wonder what we mean, since it seems like anyone who has clear eyesight should be able to see objects as they are. When we use this phrase in reference to insight gained from meditation, however, we do not mean seeing things superficially, with our regular eyes, but seeing things as they are in themselves, with wisdom. Seeing with wisdom means seeing things within the framework of our body-mind complex without prejudices or biases that spring from greed, hatred, and delusion. Ordinarily, when we watch the working of our body-mind complex, we tend to ignore things that are not pleasant to us and hold onto the things that are. This is because our minds are generally influenced by desire, resentment, and delusion. Our ego, self, or opinions get in our way and color our judgment. When we mindfully watch our bodily sensations, we should not confuse them with mental formations, for bodily sensations can arise completely independent of the mind. For instance, we sit comfortably. After a while, there can arise some uncomfortable feeling in our back or our legs. Our mind immediately experiences that discomfort and forms numerous thoughts around the feeling. At that point, without confusing the feeling with the mental formations, we should isolate the feeling as feeling and watch it mindfully. Feeling is one of the seven universal mental factors. The other six are contact, perception, attention, concentration, life force, and volition. Other times, a certain emotion, such as resentment, fear, or lust, may arise. During these times we should watch the emotion exactly as it is, without confusing it with anything else. When we bundle our aggregates of form, feeling, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness into one and regard all of them as a feeling, we get confused because the source of the feeling becomes obscured. If we simply dwell upon the feeling without separating it from other mental factors, our realization of truth becomes very difficult.

A ubiquitous feature of practically every Internet activity is that it's solitary. Sure, you may be messaging or chatting or gaming with others who are also online, but generally, you are physically alone. This isolation can be damaging in many ways, but two in particular have negative consequences for people suffering from depression. First, interacting with others only through electronic media filters our communication and strips away a huge range of important nonverbal signals. Researchers estimate that anywhere from 65 to 85 percent of all communication takes place through eye contact, facial expression, hand gestures, body position and posture, and so on. While we can choose our words carefully--and even use language to say things that are utterly untrue--it's nearly impossible to manipulate our subconscious signals. In other words, most of us tell the truth with body language. If you want to know what a person really thinks and who they really are, you have to be in personal contact with them. The Internet may provide the appearance of intimacy, but it's an illusion. Real connection by electronic means is impossible. Essentially, online relationships skip normal development and often create a sense of "instant intimacy," which is not true emotional closeness. This has negative implications for someone who conducts most or all of their relationships online and is also struggling with depression. That person already feels damaged and deficient, probably convinced that's how everyone else sees them as well. Terse text messages and social media comments alone can easily be interpreted in a way that reinforces this belief, whereas face-to-face contact might include an abundance of nonverbal clues to the contrary. Furthermore, isolation hides the nonverbal cues you would otherwise send, letting people who care about you know that you're in distress and need help. Second, isolation enables us to create what I call "false personas"--virtual identities we present in cyberspace that bear little resemblance to who we actually are. These alter egos allow us to adopt traits we ordinarily shun in face-to-face relationships: verbal aggression and overly explicit sexual communications, for example. Or they enable us to hide away all evidence of distress and creeping dysfunction in our real lives. What a person seeking to heal from depression needs most of all is to focus attention on his or her life as it really is, to take stock of unhelpful conditions in the real world, and to accept support from real people. Chances are, you probably can't remember.

Most people don't come from a giving frame of mind, because MOST people are so consumed by their own lives that they are unable to step outside of themselves, and enjoy the person and/or the moment for what it is. Gain confidence and credibility as a person (around all your encounter) when you stop, smile and give someone a compliment. It could be something simple like, "I love that skirt. Where did you get it?" Or, it could be something like, "I feel so much better after you showed me that little trick for my excel spreadsheet. Thanks!" Compliments make people feel good, and when you genuinely give someone a compliment (make sure it's sincere, because people can pick up on inauthentic statements). When you make people feel good, they'll associate you with feeling good...talk about a secret skill that will get you allow you to become more popular than you could have ever hoped for! Become a skilled daydreamer. I'm a big believer in using my mind to achieve what it is I want most in life. Whether you want to have an active dating life, a thriving career, the ability to become thin and fit, or cultivate a happier and more harmonious romantic relationship with your partner, becoming a skilled daydreamer is your shortcut there. Here's why: your subconscious mind is flooded with thoughts, emotions and attitudes, many of which you learned by observing others or experiencing early in life. Empowering children with the autonomy to control their own time is a tremendous gift. Even if they fail from time to time, failure is part of the learning process. Last, I advised her to make sure her kids' days include plenty of time for play, both with their friends and with their parents. Her boys were using Fortnite to have fun with their buddies, and would continue to play online without an offline alternative. If we want our kids to fulfill their need for relatedness offline, they need time to build face-to-face friendships outside school. These relationships should be free from the pressure of coaches, teachers, and parents telling them what to do. Unfortunately, for the typical child these days, playtime won't happen unless it's scheduled. Conscious parents can bring back playtime for kids of all ages by deliberately making time for it in their weekly schedules and seeking out other parents who understand the importance of unstructured play and schedule regular get-togethers to let the kids hang out, just as you would make time for a jog in the park or a jam session in the garage. Research studies overwhelmingly support the importance of unstructured playtime on kids' ability to focus and to develop capacity for social interactions. Given that, unstructured play is arguably their most important extracurricular activity.

In addition to helping kids make time for unstructured play, we also need to carve out time for them to spend time with us, their parents. For example, scheduling family meals is perhaps the single most important thing parents and kids can do together. Studies demonstrate that children who eat regularly with their families show lower rates of drug use, depression, school problems, and eating disorders. Unfortunately, many families miss meals together because they "play it by ear," a strategy that often leaves everyone eating alone on their own schedules. Hence, it's better to set aside an evening, even if only once a week, for a device-free family meal. As our kids develop, we can invite them to shape these family meal experiences by suggesting menu themes like "Finger-Food Fridays," cooking together, or contributing conversation topics. As a family, play can and should extend beyond mealtimes. In my household, we've established a weekly "Sunday Funday," where we rotate the responsibility to plan a three-hour activity. When it's my turn, I might take the family to the park for a long conversation while we walk. My daughter typically requests to play a board game when it's her turn to pick. My wife often proposes a trip to a local farmers' market to discover and sample new foods. Whatever the choice, the idea is to regularly set aside time together to feed our need for relatedness. While we must be prepared to make adjustments to our family schedule, we need to involve our kids in setting our routines and honoring our commitments to each other. Teaching them to make their own schedules and being indistractable together helps us pass on our values. Charting has been shown to be useless. A wealth of research, from as far back as the 1960s, demonstrates that technical analysis can't beat the market. The filter systems used by chartists have been tested, and, when trading costs are considered, they don't consistently beat a strategy of just buying and holding on to a stock. In fact, two financial economists, Arnold Moore and Eugene Fama, determined that only about 3 percent of the variation in daily stock prices can be explained by past stock prices, so past prices are quite useless in predicting future prices.4 And yet, technical analysts on Wall Street continue to see relationships between past and future stock prices when no relationship exists. And people continue to invest millions of dollars on the basis of the analysts' unfounded stock recommendations. In fact, chartists have recently been hired in increasing numbers.

Why? Technical analysts recommend a lot of trades. As Malkiel notes, "Trading generates commissions, and commissions are the lifeblood of the brokerage business. The technicians do not help produce yachts for the customers, but they do help generate the trading that provides yachts for the brokers."5 The picture is a computer-generated image made to resemble an inkblot. Many clinical psychologists and psychiatrists use the Rorschach inkblot test, which consists of ten similar kinds of images, to diagnose whether a patient has certain disorders or tendencies, such as paranoia or suicidal tendencies. How do they do it? Patients state what they see in the images, and the psychologist interprets their responses as indicating certain deep-seated, unconscious thoughts that suggest some type of illness or social tendency. What did you see in the figure? If you saw something like buttocks, female clothing, or a person of indeterminant sex (e.g., looks like a man below the waist but a woman above), a clinical psychologist is likely to interpret your response as indicating you're homosexual (as Jerry Seinfeld would say, "Not that there's anything wrong with that"). In fact, psychologists Loren and Jean Chapman asked thirty-two clinicians about using the Rorschach test to determine male homosexuality (at a time when homosexuality was thought to be a disorder).7 The clinicians said that homosexuals were more likely to interpret the inkblots as buttocks, genitals, female clothing, human figures of indeterminate sex, and human figures with both male and female features. So what's the problem? None of these responses are actually associated with homosexuality. Research has shown that just as many heterosexuals give these responses as homosexuals. And yet, the clinicians were convinced that they had discovered an association between these responses and homosexuality. Why the error? It just seems reasonable to assume that homosexuals would see such images--but that assumption is wrong. The clinicians' expectations of what they thought should correlate with homosexuality led them to perceive associations that weren't actually there. We want to gain insight into the experience of impermanence to overcome our unhappiness and ignorance: our deeper knowledge of unhappiness overcomes the greed that causes our unhappiness, and our realization of selflessness overcomes the ignorance that arises from the notion of self. Toward these insights, we begin by seeing the mind and body as separate; and having comprehended them separately, we should also see their essential interconnectedness. As our insight becomes sharpened, we become more and more aware of the fact that all aggregates, mental and physical, are cooperating, and that none can exist without the others.