Thinking About Your Own Death

>> Wednesday

If you ever feel distressed thinking about your own mortality, you may be able to ease your troubled mind by taking Tylenol. Strange but true. In a recent study, researchers at the University of British Columbia first got people thinking about their own eventual death. Those who were given a Tylenol before the start of the experiment felt much less disturbed than those who were given a placebo.

Daniel Randles, the author of the study, said, "We think that Tylenol is blocking existential unease in the same way it prevents pain, because a similar neurological process is responsible for both types of distress."

I personally feel I benefit from occasionally pondering my own impermanence. But if it ever seems too much to deal with, we can always ease our minds with a couple of Tylenol. And if you have a friend dealing with this difficult psychological issue, here's something you can offer that might help.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of Viewfinder: How to Change the Way You Look at Things.

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Rudy's Question

>> Friday

Asking questions of yourself is the best way to direct your mind, as I've said elsewhere. The last time I watched the movie Rudy (for probably the 12th time), I grasped anew the power of questions. That was the first time I ever noticed Rudy's question in the movie. Twice in the movie, while he is trying to achieve a goal others view as impossible, Rudy asks of his mentor, "Have I done all I can?"

The thing that most impresses me with this true story is how absolutely focused on his goal Rudy stays, no matter what setbacks he runs into. He is committed. He is so committed it is inspiring. I said aloud to the two people watching with me, "What would happen if we were as committed to our goals as he is to his?"

Afterwards, I was thinking about it and I realized asking Rudy's question would do it. If we asked that question of ourselves several times a day, our behavior would look to others as if we were impressively and inspiringly committed to our goal.

I've been asking Rudy's question, and it has changed me. The question makes me more committed and more motivated.

This question calls to mind more than just work, because there is always more work you can do. But have you set your goal? Have you written it down? Have you envisioned it clearly and repeatedly? Have you communicated your goal to people who can help you? Have you put out all the effort you can? Have you maintained a great attitude while working toward your goal? Are you been getting enough sleep and eating right and exercising? Have you done all you can to accomplish your goal?

Let Rudy's question provoke you and motivate you every day. Use it to raise your mood. One of the most reliable ways to stay in a great mood is to live in a continuous state of purposefulness and accomplishment. Rudy's question can get you there.

Adam Khan is the author of Self-Help Stuff That Works and Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot

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