Posted in Life & Happiness

Bullet Journal: Modules

(This post is a part of the series “How to Bullet Journal”. Read the rest here:

Now that we know the basic format of the Bullet Journal, it is time to organise it. Think of the bullet journal as a framework, where you can hang different types of modules to better organise your life.

First, use the first few pages of the notebook to set up a Key for your Bullets, then an Index. The index is simply a way to keep track of what content is on which pages. This can be used to keep track of date ranges, or collections.

Next, it is helpful to create a Future Log. This is a barebone view of things to come in the next six months. Make it simple and minimalistic so you can easily refer to it when you are filling in your Monthly Logs later.

The Monthly Log is a place where you can have an overview of the current month. This could be as simple as a list ranging from the first to the last day of the month, or a traditional calendar shape. Put important dates and events on the log so that you can remind yourself in your Weekly or Daily Log. This is a place where you can form a basic plan for the month.

The basic unit of the bullet journal is the Daily Log, but this can be organised in different ways.

Some people choose to use a minimalistic style where they simply write Daily Logs day-after-day until the month is over. This style is useful if you like to keep things very simple and like to quickly jot things down.

A more common form is using a Weekly Log to have set spaces for the Daily Log of each day in a week. This requires slightly more set-up, where you draw up a Spread for the Weekly Log. For example, you could divide the pages into seven large boxes. The benefit of this style is that you can plan up to a week in advance, so you can record your Events ahead of time and remind yourself. It also lets you get more creative as you can fill the empty spaces with other useful modules.

This is the barebone form of the bullet journal. Once you are ready to start, draw up a key, index, Future Log and a Monthly Log for this month. Then, write today’s date and start writing a Daily Log. You will find that it is awkward at the start, but the more you use your journal, the more you will find yourself figuring out exactly what the bullet journal means to you. Is it simply a planner, or a place to release your creative side?

In the last section, we look at Migration and Collections, to see how we sustain bullet journaling as a hobby, while making it unique and creative.

Examples from my Bullet Journal:

Future Log – Minimalistic style, dots represent month. This style allows you to keep adding to the log out of order. Colour coding is a helpful way to organise different kinds of events.

Index – First page is an index of collections, while the next page is an index of what page to turn to for each Monthly Log

Monthly Log – Calendar style, note the Habit Tracker on the side (to be discussed in the next section)

Weekly Log – Simple version, pre-divided sections but Daily Log is still the classic style

Weekly Log – Variation, notice how Tasks and Thoughts have been moved to a separate section, with a small section to remind you of Events in the short-term future.

Posted in Psychology & Medicine

Laughter Epidemic

It is said that laughter is infectious. In 1962, an extreme case of “laughter infection” happened in village in Tanzania. The phenomenon originated in a boarding school for girls. On January 30, three girls spontaneously burst out in laughter and could not stop themselves from laughing. Soon after, the whole class was suffering from fits of uncontrollable laughter. The “infection” then spread throughout the school, claiming 95 of the 159 students over a stretch of two months. This strange symptom of uncontrollable laughter lasted anywhere from a few hours to 16 days. Interestingly, teachers were not affected and only girls between the ages of 12 to 18 were affected. By March 18, the school was forced to close down due to students not being able to focus during class.

The laughter epidemic was not localised to the school. After the school shut down and the girls returned home, fellow villagers were afflicted by the laughing disease, resulting in 217 villagers being “infected” by May (mostly children and teenagers). By June, the laughing epidemic spread to another nearby school, affecting 48 girls. The epidemic then went on to claim two more schools, forcing them to close down. By the time the epidemic died down (6 to 18 months after “patient zero”), it had affected over a 1000 people and shut down 14 schools.

So what was this strange disease? Was it some new viral infection causing neurological symptoms? Was it a toxin in the water supply? The answer was even simpler: mass psychogenic illness, also known as mass hysteria. Mass hysteria is a psychological phenomenon that occurs in groups placed in high-tension situations, such as within an airplane. This setting is perfect for triggering a mass delusion, causing the person to believe they are suffering from a physical disease. The trigger is usually another “patient” and the hysteria spreads like wildfire, usually by people seeing affected victims. Although the above case makes mass hysteria look like a harmless, amusing phenomenon, psychosomatism (when the mind tricks the body into thinking it is sick) can cause symptoms such rashes, fevers, vomiting and even paralysis. In fact, all of these symptoms were also reported during the Tanganyika laughter epidemic.