How to Sort Yourself Out: 5 Ways to Stop Being Depressed, Anxious & Addicted
We hear a lot about depression, anxiety, and addiction in our modern age but much less about why these issues are so common among young men, so this piece is going to look at what’s happening in our contemporary culture, as well as the belief systems we trap ourselves within to ascertain exactly how to sort yourself out.
While I’m sure there are a few extreme cases where these issues can’t be helped due to extreme mental incapacity, one thing you see a lot of today – and I used to do relentlessly – is people using the aforementioned issues as a reason for failure and suffering.
This was the case with me for two reasons, firstly I didn’t think change was possible, with my mental paradigm defining what I saw as ‘truth’, and secondly, I was addicted to my victim story (more on that later).
For me, I couldn’t actively change until a variety of people and experiences actually showed me how to sort yourself out after a very dark and existential rock bottom.
This was followed by an inner transformation that aligned me with a disciplined structured path that taught me actively how to live life in an effective way (check out my video below for a full insight into my story).
This piece is, therefore, going to focus on how you can affect change in five ways to move on from depressed, anxious and addicted states and discover the recipe of how to sort yourself out.
1: No Conscious Goals
Now, the key word here is conscious, because whether you know it or not, you have goals, it’s just if you’ve never sat down and really organized what your goals are really rigorously and made them conscious.
Henceforth, you’re following subconscious goals.
Subconscious goals are especially dangerous because they stem from all manner of forces outside of you intent on manipulating you to their end.
They can be conditioned by your culture, by your family or your friends, subtly making you think what you should achieve rather than what you actually want to achieve yourself.
Secondly, more often than not in our day and age, subconscious goals come from advertising and marketing which instills very subtle messages that make us think that we should seek to achieve certain things in life.
Adverts seem innocuous, but there’s a reason why trillions are spent every year on marketing and advertising.
The reality is that advertising and marketing is the key in usurping people’s value structures and goals, thereby making them a predictable consumer.
Also, finally, when we’re lost in subconscious goals we’re also prey to internal passions and craving, meaning hedonism can be placed above things we genuinely value
This situation has become endemic among modern men, especially as we have so few elder wise guides to show us an earthier form of masculinity and a life that gives you a sense of completion and meaning, as well as showing the path of discipline and struggle that takes us to an eventual place of growth.
One place I used to scorn but have come to value is the gym where goal setting is a vital element of working out.
Whether your goal is to construct a certain type of body or whether that’s just to get in shape or improve your strength, each of these is going to define the shape of your workouts in your weekly routine.
It’s a microcosm of what happens when you apply goals in any area of your life, be it career, your personal life or your spiritual life.
Goals iron out the whole of your structure of existence and give you meaning and the key coordinates within your day to aim for and achieve – they are the basis of how to sort yourself out.
2: Having Goals But Little to No Discipline
Given the state of play in our contemporary culture that I mentioned earlier – the instantaneous gratification society – we have seen a growth of interest in people such as Joe Rogan and Jocko Willink who heavily focus on discipline and how to sort yourself out.
In fact, Jocko Willink has become famous for the phrase ‘Discipline Equals Freedom’, and although this seems like a paradox on first inspection, when you actually enact it in your life you can start to see what he means.
The basic axiom is that the more discipline you have as a human the more freedom you’re going to have.
Now we don’t always act in perfect discipline, this is part of being human, but it is about getting shit done to the maximum degree possible.
If we can overcome resistance and just get on with it, you’ll be surprised how much progress you can make.
The next key element of this is controlling the mind when we do not exhibit discipline, because at this point the mind comes in and creates a snowball effect of fearful thoughts of failure.
You must be ready and prepared for this, because it will happen.
Falling short of a goal when you’ve made an ego position out of being ‘disciplined’ can lead you to the absolute core of being demoralized and this takes us on to the third point…
3. You’re Too Hard on Yourself When You Fail
Being too hard on yourself when you fail is extremely common and a very, very difficult one to deal with because it presents itself as self-esteem, but is actually the ego coming in disguise.
That critical voice yabbering on about how you fucked up seems so legit, it seems to be the voice telling you how to sort yourself out, yet in reality, it’s the ‘poor me’ voice masquerading.
This voice tells us that we have fallen short on a soul level, as a winner, as a man, but that is complete bollocks.
It may be a cliche, but it’s a cliche because it’s true – winners fail their way to success.
I know it’s difficult, as when you’re in those moments you get a sense of guilt, and maybe even a sense of shame that you failed, yet this where we have the opportunity to dust ourselves down, get thicker skin and start rolling with the punches in life.
THIS is what builds character.
We must see that despite being flawed and despite having inner contradictions, the aim is to have an ideal vision and to keep striving for it progressively, despite the knocks and self-sabotage.
In essence, it’s not about winning battles but about coming out on top at the conclusion of the war.
We all fuck up. Accept that. Even ‘self-help guru’ Jordan Peterson had a stint in rehab recently; the key is in not letting the negative own us, but in us owning it.
Acceptance of our flawed nature is also a core spiritual axiom – it is why forgiveness is at the centre of the major religions – so we must strive to transcend the whining fatalism of the ego and let go to the potential of life.
4. You Eat Junk Food and Don’t Workout
Now this one might seem like I’m stating the damn obvious but it goes back to the point I made right at the beginning – that living a lifestyle based on pleasure-seeking without conscious goals will lead someone else to pick your goals for you.
These ‘people’ will be marketers and advertisers.
Advertising is constant in our day and age, whether that’s online, whether it’s on TV, whether it’s at the movies, or whether it’s on your smartphone, wherever you go you’re bombarded with branding that pushes lifestyle associations with a given product.
All of it is in reality meaningless.
Yet this constant advertising has made a sort of perfect storm, especially when we consider an issue I’m often eager to make – that there’s a lack of wise guides in men’s lives today.
Without wise guidance, advertising comes in and informs us of what we need to complete ourselves within this vacuum of true meaning.
Two of the most common things are junk food and booze, the latter of which has become a sort of existential balm in our present-day in helping us hide from the realities of life.
This is also why, after my own transformational experience from drugs and drink to healthy living, I woke up to the realization that I’d been sold this idea that drinking was rebellious, social and cool.
In actuality, being healthy is much more countercultural as it allows us to take control of ourselves as consuming political beings.
Further still, being healthy and clear-minded is one way that you can actually see life for what it is, you can actually experience your body for how it’s supposed to feel when it’s in a state of homeostasis and harmony instead of a state of constant repair and constant detoxification.
Now I now that advertising can be just as rampant and egregious regarding health products, yet with a clear mind and as you build up your own knowledge of your body and the surrounding world, you will begin to easily navigate between the fact and the fiction.
The next part in how to sort yourself out with regard to nutrition and health looks at the power of working out and exercise.
This gives men a sense of physical striving, a sense of raw challenge, and given that we’re a species that’s evolved over a quarter of a million years with immense physical challenges, when we remove them from our lives there’s a sense of emptiness.
I didn’t understand this until I got in the gym and felt the power of being engaged, active and learning about my physical masculinity.
This was amazing in giving me a sense of purpose beyond intellectual logic (something I used to scorn) and helping me in expelling negative emotions and experiences.
In fact, study after study has shown that exercise and weightlifting is extremely good at alleviating anxiety and depression.
So, if you want to stay depressed stay at home, live a sedentary lifestyle, eat crap, keep pouring toxins into your body, and don’t ever stress your body or challenge it to grow.
5. You’re a Self-Centred Victim & Over-Analyse
We’re convinced in our day and age that psychology is the answer to pretty much any mental issue.
However, this isn’t the whole truth.
It is true that therapy has value in some instances, especially if you’ve been heavily traumatized, but the general idea that constantly thinking about your problems is going to solve them is an errant and dangerous one.
In reality, sometimes just leaving your problems way alone and not obsessing over every last little thing in your life can be immensely freeing.
This was certainly the case for me after years of therapy.
I was convinced that no one had a life as complex as mine, that no one had suffered the beatings I’ve had, or taken the drugs I did when I was young, or suffered the injustices and betrayals in relationships, the panic attacks, the pain, their brother committing suicide.
On and on the list went, and I was always armed and ready to throw it at anyone who challenged me to change.
Yet while I clung to all these issues, it became clear in time that I was clinging to them as an excuse as to why I couldn’t get on in life.
While I may even have been right about that, the victim story I was telling myself, even if correct, was suffocating and immobilising me.
For years I had these problems around my neck, and I never solved them (deep down, did I really think I even could? Did I really want to?)
To cut a long story short, I began to transcend them when I stopped defining myself by them and when I stopped analysing them.
I saw that I was looking at myself like an equation I had to add up in order to ascertain some sort of self-calculation of how I should act in a given situation.
This whole process was exhausting, and worst of all, I’d miss the life happening in front of my eyes while I was too busy making equations and talking my way out of opportunities with girls, jobs and life itself.
In truth, when I let go to simply what is in life instead of constantly having to put my story on top of life I found that I was actually way more capable than I thought I ever could be.
The reality is that thinking about problems is an unhelpful defense mechanism rooted deeply in fear.
Living this way gives you over to the cynical, judgmental mind that finds it very hard to solve emotional and sometimes even spiritual issues.
This is why it’s so important to try and have a perspective that goes outside of yourself, whether that is something like a meditational practice which gets you in touch with the root of life, or a religious belief in which you actually see something outside of you is more important than your limited self.
Letting go of constant self-analysis and of constant self-interpretation allows us to actually take part in life, it allows us not to take our individual selves quite so seriously, and it lets us see that we’re part of something much bigger than what the limited mind can understand.
However, if you want to stay depressed, stay listening to that voice in your head – it will keep you alone, it will keep you stressed, and it will keep you depressed for your life.
It will hold you from learning how to sort yourself out and banish you to a life of decay, pain and fear.
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