How can Design Thinking help us to overcome Sadness?

“Guruji, I have trouble sleeping at nights these days and could not focus on work and suffer from daytime fatigue. I think I’m in depression. Can you help me”

“Bhakta, Depression can be of many types. If it is biological, you may have to consult the doctor. I assume your depression is a recent one and owing to the potential problems in your present life”

“Yes, Guruji. I feel depressed due to recent events and mind is continuously occupied by those incidents. I sense that my mind has lost its direction, feels out of my control, confidence is low. Can your provide me with a solution”

“Let’s split the problem into sub-units — Lack of sleep, Lack of Focus, Low Self-Confidence, Solving your troubles. For Solving Lack of Sleep, let’s look at Reversal Technique. Can you tell me about people who have sound sleep at night”

“People who physically work/strain throughout the day — Their sleep is intense. Farmers, Truck Drivers, Construction workers etc…”

“Yes. Then you should also physically strain your body for some time every day”

“Guruji, But I work for a software company”

“Get up at 4.30AM and do physical exercise. If you wake up early morning, accompanied by a couple of hours of physical exercise, you will be forced to sleep early within 3–4 days. Go and help somebody in the morning with physical work. Play some physical games. Go for swimming. Keep changing the routine every 4–5 days, so that you don’t get bored”

“It’s difficult for the mind to control the physically strained body?”

“Yes. Let’s come to the mind. Your mind is filled with worries now. How will you remove them? Let’s look at the reversal technique. Removing from the mind — Reverse -Add — How to add to mind. If my address list is having a limitation of only 50 contacts, adding any new contact address will remove one of my old contacts. So, You need to add something to your mind, so that You can push your worries out”

“Guruji, Can you explain in detail”

“When you are in a state of negative stress, your thought process tends to focus, go deeper into the problem, concentrating more on the details or smaller phases of the problem, you are going to see the trees before the forest. A narrow focus will not help us to look for alternative solutions. This will create more anxiety and stress. You may be aware that there are three levels of our brain — Visceral, Behavioural and Reflective. Imagine you are driving the car and talking simultaneously over the phone to your friend. Visceral and Behavioural levels help you to drive the car at the sub-conscious level, whereas your reflective level is focussed on the conversation”

“Guruji, you mean the habitual or routine actions don’t need a reflective level of thinking most of the time unless some unexpected scenario happens?”

“Yes, Bhakta. If your daily activities have many routine activities, which you are used to performing sub-consciously, then your reflective mind is free to be on its own”

“Guruji, what has this to do with my worries”

“Since your Reflective level of the brain is free, your worries go and stay there. Though you might be working in office, your mind is filled with sad events, troubling you further”

“Guruji, So, you are telling me to keep my Reflective Mind occupied? How to do?”

“Yes. Example — Walking in morning. You are habituated to walking from childhood. You can walk and at the same time, your reflective mind can think something else. If you haven’t developed jogging as a habit yet, when you jog, your reflective mind will be involved and think about jogging”

“Right Guruji. Whenever some serious thought arises in my mind during the jog, I tend to slow down and walk unconsciously. We cannot multitask”

“Yes. To keep your reflective mind involved in your activities, you need to insert something new in your routine. You may have to change the routines. Learn a new skill, practice them during work, after office hours — which can help your career too. Buy diverse books, read them and analyse. Books will help you to overcome worries very soon”

“I understand Guruji. I was not controlling my reflective mind. Even in during office meetings, I might be physically present, but my reflective mind is elsewhere thinking about my worries”

“During meetings, you can write down the notes, keep asking them questions, think about connecting to any other situation, discuss with colleagues….basically, keep yourselves engaged in conscious level than at sub-conscious level”

“Sure, Guruji”

“Gaining any new knowledge, new skills will improve your self-confidence than reading any motivational books. And with this improved self-confidence, you can take better decisions in life, contribute sub-consciously to the welfare of your office, to people around you. People around you will start recognising your new found distinctiveness and encourage you further. So, you will soon become a valuable resource, someone who is above average, someone having good ideas and unique skills.”

“Vow. Great Guruji. Let me start from Tomorrow”

“Remember. It is not an easier task. It will not happen in one day. If you work vigorously, you will witness a massive improvement in 6 months. All the best. You can start now too, rather than waiting for tomorrow.”

“Ok. Guruji. Thanks for the advice.”

Secular Humanist, Business Growth Consultant, Design Thinker, India. Reach me at or

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