TL;DR Having a 20% buffer in your schedule to rest and handle anything urgent that pops up is the difference between a good life with time to experiment and being in a situation where one emergency breaks you and everything is on fire all the time.

Rule of Equal and Opposite Advice:

TL;DR The person who needs the advice to love their body is probably the person to end up on diet forums.  The person who needs the advice to care about their health is probably going to end up on HAES forums.  Each person needs to reverse the advice they naturally seek to get the advice that brings them to the healthy middle way rather than a self destructive extreme.

Main Post:

Calm > Anxiety; Slack > Distress:

The advice to seek out slack seemed to be the advice lesswrong needs.  This forum is filled with people who worry about if they should be working 24/7 and donating all of their income.  I think if your problem is on the anxiety spectrum it’s really important that you step back from trying to find ways to get everything done and try the opposite advice of seeking slack.

Joy > Depression; Eustress > Slack:

I think I’ve gone too far down the slack hole and need to reverse the advice again.  This forum is also filled with smart people who need a challenge to feel fulfilled.  As more slack has found its way into my life[1] I’ve been having trouble motivating myself to do the miniscule workload asked of me; whereas in the past I’ve handled herculean schedules and loved it.

As a result, I’ve been seeking more and more slack thinking “I can barely do this, I clearly need to try even less”.  I need to reverse that.  Of course, I don’t want to go back to not have a single unscheduled second in my day.  The goal is to settle the pendulum at a nice healthy medium where I have an engaging number of balls to juggle but if I drop one I’ll still have time to pick it up before the next ball falls.  


If you’re feeling anxious, ask yourself where you can find more slack.  If you’re feeling depressed, ask yourself where you can find things that excite you without making you anxious.  Slack doesn’t necessarily mean having a lot of time where you do nothing.  As long as your schedule has things you can push back without issue that gives you the freedom that slack is meant to give you even if you have relatively few unscheduled blocks on your calendar.

[1] Partially due to covid eliminating the hobbies I was putting most of my effort into


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1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 5:43 PM

Counterpoint: being anxious (or the step down from it) and depressed (or the step down from it) at the same time.

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