Here’s my easy kit for beginners:
1. Worry about what could possibly happen as a consequence of any particular action available to you at any given time. Worry to the point of paralysis.
2. Focus on yourself alone—or at most on your tightly-knit and –wound circle of family and likeminded friends—even better, focus most of all on that unobservable, infinitesimal part of yourself you call your “soul.”
3. Fear God, fear change, fear the opinion of others.
4. Delve into the horror and suffering of existence, not to do anything about it (it’s sadly hopeless), but just to scratch at your feelings till they bleed.
5. Live in the past, or what you imagine the past should have been like, and fantasize about the future being just like the good parts of the past.
6. Always maintain control—of your actions, your words, your feelings, your thoughts. Punish yourself when you fail.
7. Tell people you’re a perfectionist. If you are religious, tell people your words and deeds are not your own, but God’s.
8. Avoid solitude, avoid quiet, avoid stillness.
9. Comfort yourself in beliefs you have never tested or even closely looked into.
10. Find someone—anyone—at whose feet you may comfortably grovel.
11. Maintain impossibly high standards for others—convince yourself daily that these standards are right and reasonable.
12. Make the only outcome that is acceptable to you be the one that ignores all present factors and violates all known laws of science and the lessons of history.
13. Stay within your limits—in fact, fortify those limits.
14. Identify scapegoats, preferably some social group it’s easy for you to blame for whatever is wrong in the world and in your miserable life.
15. Figure it’s you-against-the-world.
16. Persevere in those practices that have never before worked for you in the firm belief that either this time things will be different or you really and truly have no other choice.
17. Demonize sex.
18. Put your friends and others who “say” they love you constantly to the test.
19. Find two or three things about yourself or the life you have thus far lived that might credibly support the idea that you and your life are guided by irrevocable fate.
20. Decide, once and for all, that reality is just whatever you decide it is.