The people of the world are increasingly depressed1 and suicide rates are soaring2. Depression rates are highest among young people leaping by 63 percent for teens and 47 percent for millennials3.
Apparently, the people of the world are having trouble retaining their sanity in the ever-changing world. It’s true that modern society is run by insane sociopaths but, as with everything in life, it’s your own responsibility to maintain your sanity.
Here are my 7 tips to maintain your sanity in an increasingly insane world:
1. Fix your mental framework (if it’s broken)
The world is changing at a lightning speed but human nature remains more or less the same. The moral code you learned from your teachers and pushed on to you by greedy corporations and politicians is incompatible with human nature and reality. It’s hard not to get depressed when there’s a disconnect between reality and how you view the world.
Your mental framework is to you what an operating system is to a computer. Just like a program that is designed for the Windows operating system will not function on Mac OS computers, the realities of today’s world will not function in a utopian, idealistic mental framework. A faulty mental framework will make it harder to maintain your sanity as you will constantly keep witnessing real-life events that contradict your worldview.
You went through an education system that taught you that it’s immoral to be selfish, ambitious, and masculine. These qualities are not only not immoral, but they are also vital for your mental health and your odds of succeeding in life. The truth about women was hidden from you, which I believe is one of the main causes of suicide among men.
Reject the mental framework of modern times and be unapologetically selfish, masculine, and ambitious. Fix the terms of your relationship with women. If your mental framework clashes with the realities of life then it’s a better idea to fix your mental framework than to mold the entire world to fit into your idealistic worldview.
2. Have realistic expectations
Having high standards is fine and even necessary for a well-lived life but having unrealistic expectations is not.
We are happy when our expectations materialize and unhappy when they’re not. Having unrealistic expectations guarantees unhappiness because you will essentially be waiting in vain for the things that are never going to happen.
Having realistic expectations, on the other hand, doesn’t guarantee happiness as them being realistic doesn’t mean that they will automatically materialize but you have a shot at attaining them provided that you work hard and persist.
Here are some of the common unrealistic expectations that people hold and become frustrated and depressed when they don’t happen:
- A savior to come and save you. No one is coming to save you. No one cares about you. The sooner you realize this the better. The only person who is capable of saving you is YOU.
- Free shit. Nothing worthwhile is free. You must earn everything by your own efforts. If you are given something for free, you are losing something in exchange without realizing it. Government handouts are good examples of this phenomenon on a larger scale. The more the government hands out freebies, the more authoritarian it becomes. You lose your freedom in exchange for the freebies. Despise the free lunch.
- Life has never been fair and it will never be. Whining about how unfair life is will only cause you to waste your time. Fairness is only a human invention. Nature is brutal and unfair by design. It’s ok to demand justice in terms of laws but expecting life to be fair is unrealistic.
- Disney type of romance where the nice guy gets the perfect girl and they live happily ever after. Women are attracted to high-status men. Being nice doesn’t cut it.
- A political leader to solve your problems. Politicians are in it for themselves. Politics is a waste of time when you are not a politician yourself.
Your only potential savior is the person you see in the mirror every day. It’s your responsibility to get what you want out of life. Don’t expect other people to go out of their way to make your life better. You will find people who are willing to make your life better but that only happens when you are already a winner. Until then, you rely on you and only you.
3. Always remember to take care of the fundamentals
This should normally go without saying but it’s incredible how many people ignore the fundamentals.
Fundamentals are fundamentals for a reason: they work.
Sleep well, eat well, and exercise regularly. Physical health is inseparable from mental health.
4. Let go of the things that you can’t control and focus on the things that you can control
Lots of people get depressed over things that they have little to no control over.
Worrying about the things that you can’t control takes away from your ability to focus on the things that you can control4.
Here are some of the things that you have little to no control over and hence you are better off by not worrying about them at all:
- The Economy (financial crises, unemployment rate, stock prices, inflation, interest rates, national debt, etc.)
- Public health
- Natural disasters
- Climate change
- Your genetics
- The lives and problems of the people you don’t personally know (including celebrities)
- Who is elected as the president, the mayor, and so on
- Government policies
No matter how deeply you are concerned about all of these things, doing something about them is out of your reach so it’s best to ignore them altogether and focus on the things that are directly within your control, some of which are:
- Your job
- The businesses that you can start
- What you buy
- Where you live
- Your education
- Your skills
- What you read
- Places you travel to
- What you produce
- How you dress
- Your mindset and your mental framework
- How you invest your money
- Your friends
- Your relationships with your loved ones
- Your love and sex life
- Your leisure activities
- Your body fat percentage
- Your muscle mass
- What you eat
These things are not only within your control, but it’s also your responsibility to take care of and optimize them.
Many people are irrationally concerned about the things that they have little to no control over before they straighten out the things that are within their control. Don’t be one of those people. Also, don’t forget to avoid paying the price for the mistakes other people make.
5. Stop hacking your brain’s reward mechanism (dopamine)
A few years ago I noticed that my 14-year-old cousin had opened a Facebook account. I advised her to shut it down because I knew that social media causes young girls to fall into depression. I was accused by my own family members of acting like a cranky old man but I knew I was right. My cousin is a smart girl so she took my advice and shut her account down. Now she’s a happy girl.
I don’t care that I sound like a cranky old man so here’s a list of addictions that hack your brain’s reward mechanism and result in depression:
- Following the news and social media
- Playing video games
- Watching porn
- Drugs and alcohol
These activities are addictive because they trick your brain to release dopamine, a hormone and a neurotransmitter that is supposed to be released in response to real-life achievements, make you happy, and in turn motivate you to achieve more.
The dopamine release caused by the above activities doesn’t correspond to real-life achievements. Getting your dopamine fix easily and effortlessly by engaging in activities that can be done with anyone with half a brain takes away from your ability and motivation to achieve in real life. The lack of real-life achievements will eventually catch up and you will end up getting depressed.
Don’t short-circuit your brain’s reward mechanism. Put in the work and score real-life achievements that have a lasting impact on your happiness.
I would also recommend you to be selective about the works of art that you consume. Art is a beautiful thing that is capable of moving you but don’t let it move you in the wrong direction. Sad music, sad movies, and sad writing move you in depression’s direction. Consume upbeat artwork that makes you happy or motivates you to live a better and more productive life.
If you find it hard to stop the activities that are easy sources of dopamine (watching porn, playing video games, wasting an inordinate amount of time on social media, drinking more than you’d like to, etc.), consider going on a dopamine fast.
6. Be productive
Pride is the most coveted emotion for human beings. We crave it. The lack of it makes us miserable.
In order to be proud, we must work and be productive. Pride is the natural result of your own productivity. You are what you produce.
But since producing something to be proud of requires hard work, persistence, and even luck, most people tend to look for easier, effortless ways to feel proud. They support sports teams the achievements of which aren’t the results of their own hard work. They play video games where their achievements don’t go beyond simulation. They identify with groups of people, the achievements of which don’t depend on their particular contributions, while conveniently ignoring the fact that groups of people are composed of individuals anyway.
Of course, none of these things result in real and lasting pride. Lazy people are never happy. Stop looking for shortcuts that don’t count.
Work hard to produce something of value and you will feel permanent pride and contentment. The more productive you are the more you will elevate your status. The more you elevate your status the more serotonin your brain will produce. The more serotonin your brain produces the happier you will be.
7. Be physically stronger
Mental strength is inseparably correlated to physical strength. It’s tough to be mentally weak when you are physically strong.
It’s scientifically proven over and over again that greater muscular strength is correlated to greater mental strength5,6,7,8.
Building muscle will not only make you mentally stronger but you will also enjoy a myriad of other benefits.
Be sure to read:
- How to Be a Superior Man, Chapter 3: Gain Direction
- How to Be a Superior Man, Chapter 5: Recruit The Power Of Self-Control
- How To Quit Playing Video Games
- How To Stop Watching Porn
- Dopamine Fasting 3.0: How to Get Motivated to Succeed in Real Life
- 24 Ways to Get Rid of the Victim Mentality and Adopt a Victor Mentality
- Depression Statistics Everyone Should Know 300 million people around the world have depression, according to the World Health Organization
- Suicide rates have soared 24 percent in the U.S. since 1999
- Major Depression Rates Surge. Data shows diagnoses jumped by one-third overall, with the highest rise among adolescents and millennials
- Hat tip to Mr. Money Mustache for bringing to my attention the concepts of Circle of Concern and Circle of Control.
- Associations between physical strength, cerebral function and mental health in independent-living elderly Japanese women. Kimiko Hayashi, Juichi Sato, Nakako Fujiwara, Miwako Kajita, Michitaro Fukuharu, Xiaochen Hu, Kiyonori Kuriki, Hideki Hoshino, Rieko Kato, Shinkan Tokudome, Yuzo Sato. Environ Health Prev Med. 2002 Jul.
- Greater muscle strength – better cognitive function for older people. Heikki Pentikäinen, Kai Savonen, Pirjo Komulainen, Vesa Kiviniemi, Teemu Paajanen, Miia Kivipelto, Hilkka Soininen, Rainer Rauramaa. European Geriatric Medicine. Published online 11.5.2017
- Handgrip Strength Could Provide Marker For Brain Functioning.
- Relationship between mental toughness and physical endurance.Crust L, Clough PJ. Percept Mot Skills. 2005 Feb