This is a guest post from Regan Jackson of Refined Mindset a site dedicated to helping men overcome depression, anxiety, and other illnesses and living their best lives ever. He is also the author of The Man’s Guide To Well Being the most comprehensive book on the subject I can think of. In this post Regan talks about the four fundamentals of unshakeable wellbeing. Enjoy.
Depression, anxiety, and other impediments to well-being are becoming more and more frequent in a time where life has more opportunity and freedom than ever before.
We live in an age that civilizations only a few hundred years ago would have deemed impossible…Through the invention of flight, we can chase an everlasting summer and see the wonders of the world. With the invention of the internet, any joe blow like myself can create a location independent business and set their own hours.
Cell phones, action movies, readily available knowledge, personal freedom and rights, no wars…Life is fucking awesome right now.
However, despite all this, statistics are showing that more people are unhappy than ever. Why?
For 10 years of my life I had no answer to that question. In fact, I was a statistic. As a young man with good health, a comfy home, and a life of freedom I still struggled with depression and anxiety. After hitting rock bottom and seriously contemplating life’s worth, I dedicated my life to finding happiness or die trying.
After roughly two years of relentless study and application into the principles of well-being, I am on top of the world. The answers to why people are unhappier than ever have become clear as day to me and, in this article, I am going to share them with you so you can get back to living life on your terms.
For any man to achieve wellness that lasts, four requirements must be met:
1 – A Man Must Be Ever-Evolving
Men were born to evolve, advance, and conquer. By nature, we are a species of power and strength.
However, as technology advances, so does the availability of convenience and comfort. The average paycheque will provide enough money to a fool a man into thinking he has the things his heart desires. When the man finds himself “comfortable” in his circumstances, he stops chasing the primal desire to evolve into something more.
Men need goals. We need to be moving towards these goals on a daily basis. In fact, achievement is so wired into our biology that our brain releases the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine when we accomplish tasks and goals.
Dopamine improves our mood, confidence, drive, testosterone levels, and, ultimately, has us eager to continue the cycle of advancement and accomplishment. Like testosterone, dopamine gives a man a powerful edge. But, when we replace goals and advancements for comfort, we lose this edge and descend into the ranks of the miserable.
Additionally, failure to progressively advance your life has you automatically drifting towards mediocre. As you look at the successful people around you, your well-being suffers. The infinite possibilities of our generation are limited by your lack of success and funds.
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” Earl Nightingale
2 – A Man Must Master His Emotions
If a man does not learn to master his emotions, his emotions will blow him about like a furious and unpredictable wind. However, no matter how tough and macho a man may be, it doesn’t change the fact that his emotional state will vary frequently.
Feeling sad or anxious does not make you less of a man. The key to emotional mastery is not to attempt to control the emotions as most people seem to assume. Attempting to suppress and control your negative emotions only aggravates them and prolongs their presence. Instead, the key to mastering your emotions is to transcend them…As Jim Rohn would say: to “set a better sail to utilize whatever wind that blows to take you wherever you want to go”
We have a wide variety of emotions for a reason. It is what gives depth to the human experience. Here are two examples of how to transcend emotions without suppressing them:
The Law of Paradoxical Unity
“Difficult and easy complement each other,
Long and short define each other,
High and low depend on each other,
Before and after follow each other.”
– Verse 2, Tao Te Ching
The eastern philosophical system of Taoism speaks of a Law in the Universe known as “paradoxical unity”. This law states that good and bad, light and dark, cannot exist without each other. They are as connected and intertwined as the fabric that makes up your sweater. This is most easily explained by looking at the symbol of the Tao.
Therefore, the negatives we experience in life will undoubtedly have a positive counterpart to them thanks to some unforeseen, yet undeniable, law of the Universe. Furthermore, we need not worry about anything. When life beats us down, the law of paradoxical unity says it will also pick us back up. When life takes from us, it will undoubtedly give back. We only need to trust the flow of life and emotional resistance will all but vanish.
A Growth Mindset
When you experience negative emotions, rather than fighting them, view them objectively. It is only your resistance that gives them power. They only disturb you because you are trying too hard to feel something different.
Challenge yourself to be content no matter what happens – no matter how you feel – and watch the things that actually bother you start to disappear.
View the hard days as a better chance of practice and every negative will bring with it a chance to grow. And if you are growing emotionally, you are advancing, evolving, and conquering as a man is supposed to do.
In Man’s Guide to Well-Being, I am going to show you more methods and examples to transcend your emotions so that you may live in a state of peace and power.
3 – Good Health
No matter what era you lived in, it would have been impossible to feel well if you weren’t in optimal health. However, hundreds of years ago you’d be hard-pressed to find the amount of destructive substances so readily available to us…
These days, within five minutes of leaving your house, you can hit the liquor store, Mcdonalds, and local pot dispensary. Then, after hitting the 40, smoking the doobie, and pounding the burgers, you can fire up your laptop and blunt your dopamine to endless pornography.
Here are three of the most important, yet neglected, health principles:
Almost everybody has heard of a “runner’s high”. This happens due to exercises’ ability to release feel-good endorphins. Very few activities provide these chemicals without chemical intervention.
The release provided by exercise is likely symbolic of an evolutionary reward system. Getting food wasn’t always as easy as going to Mcdonalds or the supermarket. Life used to be survival of the fittest. The strongest and fastest were the ones who came home with dinner and lived to do it another day. The strongest were also most equipped to defend themselves against warring tribes. Therefore, it makes sense that the brain would reward behavior that it knew to be beneficial for its survival.
These rewarding endorphins can reduce stress, increase energy, and improve sleep quality. They are potent enough to significantly reduce depression as well.
With the introduction of the internet and an endless variety of pornography at our fingertips, we face a modern-day problem. No longer are many of us out searching for a mate. Instead, we have massive amounts of immediate gratification available to us at home on our desktops or cell phones.
While surfing the web for the “perfect” video, we are rapidly releasing dopamine to a point in which the brain’s production can’t keep up with. How often in natural circumstances would you come across 10 potential mates at once? From an evolutionary standpoint, your brain is preparing for an opportunity it may never see again – every time.
Over time, excessive porn usage causes dopamine and testosterone levels to drop. There is no achievement in the process and, therefore, no reward or benefit. Meanwhile, we have still been releasing massive amounts of dopamine despite our failure to stimulate its production.
This starts the cycle of decreased well-being, motivation, confidence, and even libido.
Testosterone is quite obviously the most important male hormone. Everything from mood to your libido is impacted by this all-powerful molecule.
The advancement of industry has come at a cost. We now find chemicals in almost everything. These chemicals, known as xenoestrogens, are registered as estrogen by the body. As our chemical exposure increases and our estrogen levels rise, our testosterone is pummeled.
Then, our testosterone to estrogen ratio starts to look more like that of a females and so does our emotional stability. Combine this with blunted dopamine levels and you’d be lucky to be motivated enough to get out of bed.
4 – Basic Spirituality
As the world evolves at astonishing rates, most people are losing touch with their spiritual roots. The world of ten thousand things distracts and disturbs our inner peace.
The most crippling contrast to spirituality is the ego. The ego is the part of us that needs five of this and ten of that. The ego needs 8% bodyfat, a sports car, three fuck-buddies, and the approval of others before it considers temporary satisfaction.
Of course, the ego is greedy and insatiable. Only when we understand it can we begin to move past it and find wellness outside of possessions and circumstances.
The person who understands the spiritual side of his nature will find himself in the driver’s seat of his emotions, discipline, and confidence. He transcends the ego and the whimsical problems others constantly trip over.
If you find yourself out of balance and harmony with your wellness, it is time for a tune up. When you learn to master these four pillars and implement them into your life, wellness is nothing but a regular part of your day.
If you don’t know where to start, I’d be happy to show you in my program Man’s Guide to Well-Being: Take Control of Your Mood and Life. You can also find more of my work at refinedminset.com.
All the best,