Just like any good apocalypse, it all starts with an earthquake…. The war in Europe. Oil and gas lines being cut off. Crop and food staple shortages. The resurgence of Covid in China. Supply chain bottlenecks. The stock market’s worst week since March of 2020. Massive spikes in inflation. Racial tensions. Lack of faith in the President. Skyrocketing housing costs. Fears of global climate disasters. The inevitable recession. Oh, and to top it all off, the legitimate threat of impending nuclear war.
And you know what? I’m still happy.
It’s been a hell of a year and it’s only April. In fact, the 2020s have been a hell of a decade so far. How can we process so much suffering, so much chaos, so much fear and still stay sane? The universal stress load on modern human beings seems to be almost overwhelming.
So how can I honestly say that I’m happy in spite of everything? I’ll tell you right now that my state of mind is not an accident. I work HARD every day to make sure that I don’t let things get me down. As some of you may remember from my previous writings, I spent over a decade working my way through severe clinical depression. I tried a half-dozen different antidepressants, spent years in therapy and came close to committing suicide. I won’t lie – it was a very, very difficult period of my life.
Thankfully, all that time spent suffering was not in vain. After a decade of intensive work, I have found there is one principle that is at the root of everything: Your mental health is YOUR responsibility. If you want to be happy, that’s on you. If you want joy, hope, love, pleasure, peace and satisfaction in life, you can absolutely have them…IF you’re willing to do the work.
It’s hard to have an enjoyable life but it’s ABSOLUTELY attainable, even during the chaos of 2022. Here are five of my personal shortcuts to Superior mental health. I guarantee every one of them will make your life better.
5 Ways To Stay Happy During An Apocalypse
1. Dramatically Reduce Your News Consumption
News companies get paid to retain – or add – subscribers. The way they do this is to always show you the most intense images, videos and stories. If nothing CRAZY is happening, why would you watch their show? The answer is you wouldn’t.
We are all stimulated by powerful, shocking emotions and what’s more shocking than blood, chaos, conspiracy, murder and terror?
But intense emotions cannot be sustained. We can’t stay traumatized by the same stories forever. Just like addicts, we get used to the old horrors and we need something new to stimulate us.
The only way to break the downward spiral is to start weaning yourself off the news cycle. As a Superior Man it’s time to start finding something new – and positive – to focus your energy on.
2. Avoid People Who Are Addicted To The Chaos
You know who I’m talking about. Maybe it’s your co-worker who is counting down the days until the Republicans/Democrats destroy the country. Maybe it’s your Facebook friend who is so paranoid about Covid he and his wife haven’t left their house since 2020. Maybe it’s your barber who watches Fox News/CNN 15 hours every day and can’t find a single good thing about the world. Maybe it’s your buddy who is stockpiling guns and waiting for the end of days. Maybe it’s your aunt who is convinced QAnon is coming for her kids…and her!
A Superior Man’s job is to help take care of the people around us, but some people are too addicted to the drama. Spending time around someone who fills their entire life with anger, fear and horror won’t help them. It will only drag you down.
Just like any addict, you may love someone but you can’t help them until they’re ready. If you want to stay happy and optimistic you have to keep your distance from these chaos chasers. It’s okay to love them but do it cautiously and keep your distance. Give them small doses of your time but then quickly retreat back to the safety and serenity of your own happy life.
3. Count Your Blessings
When I was seriously depressed I used to hate it when people (especially Christians) would tell me to count my blessings. There’s even a song that, to this day, irritates the hell out of me. The chorus goes “Count your blessings/Count them one by one/Count your blessings/See what God has done.” Gah. I had always felt that this kind of hyper-sentimental Pollyanna bullshit is too easy, too cheesy and too ignorant of all the pain that we’re surrounded by every single day.
Here’s the thing: We ARE surrounded by incredible things every single day. The trick is to actually notice them – and then, once you see them, realize how much joy and fun and excellence they bring into your life. I’m not going to make a big list of awesome things but here’s a few to get you started: Your amazing pet dog/cat/snake/chinchilla. Chicken wings. Beer/Wine/Tequila/Bourbon. When a beautiful woman smiles at you. Watching your team win a big game. The sound of a little kid laughing. Finally getting the diploma. That new car smell. When someone makes you breakfast. Going really fucking fast….
If you’re ever feeling down, start making a list of the best things in your life. All your best memories. The things you love. The coolest music, movies, games, shows or events. Those special moments with your favorite people. The stuff that matters. Then keep adding to that list.
I promise you it’s IMPOSSIBLE to feel like shit when you’re spending time being grateful.
4. Fill Your Brain With Positive Media
Whether you’re finally jumping off the downward spiral of negative news or you’re just looking for something better to think about, thankfully in 2022 we have a truly UNLIMITED amount of positive media to consume every day. The trick is that we have to LOOK for it. Just like you’re not going to bang a supermodel if you never leave your house, you’re not going to have someone hand-deliver positive, challenging, inspiring, thought-provoking media right into your inbox.
It’s going to take work to find great movies, shows, podcasts and websites – especially something that fits your personal tastes. You won’t find gold laying around on the ground. You gotta go mining for it. But once you’ve found it, you’ll have a treasure that will continue to pay dividends for the rest of your life.
Here’s a couple of our upbeat favorites:
- Ted Lasso (Apple TV): In this hilarious and inspiring comedy, a struggling American football coach moves to England and helps a soccer team realize their true potential.
- Stranger Things (Netflix): This brilliant sci-fi/comedy/thriller set in the 80s follows a group of kids as they battle against evil forces from another dimension. The soundtrack alone makes it worthwhile.
- The Tim Ferriss Show: Whether it’s Richard Branson or Michael Phelps, Jerry Seinfeld or Arnold Schwarzenegger, every week Tim interviews a new world class performer and learns the secrets to how they became the best.
5. Do Something To Help Someone Else
Even if the first four items on this list somehow don’t help to lift your spirits, I bet my entire bank account that #5 will. Human beings are imperfect. We make mistakes. We have a limited skillset. We may be injured. Or weak. Or scared. Or old. We may just need a little bit of assistance. If you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone, you can be the person that can make a difference.
Find someone that you know that needs help and do something about it. Take out the neighbors trash. Give a homeless man some food. Help a friend with their computer. Spend a few minutes visiting with an older person. Go door to door and bring people freshly baked cookies. Volunteer at a local charity.
The list of people who are suffering in the world is endless. But if you want to ease that suffering, if you want to improve things, if you truly want to make a difference, find someone who needs help and be the Superior Man. Show them there are still good men out there who care. Men who are committed to improving things. Men of action and courage who refuse to sit idly by when they know a single act of goodwill can make all the difference.
Do something to help someone else.
- Dramatically Reduce Your News Consumption
- Avoid People Who Are Addicted To The Chaos
- Count Your Blessings
- Fill Your Brain With Positive Media
- Do Something To Help Someone Else
These are the steps to stay sane during an apocalypse (or any other time.)
Choose to fill your mind, your heart and your life with goodness. Stay optimistic, regardless of what others believe. Stay focused on the good and choose to bring more good into existence.
In other words, Stay Superior.
If you’re willing to do the work, you can experience life just the REM boys said: It’s the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine!