Aaron Kahn, with a simple, easy-to-digest list of things you can do to keep calm, remain stoic with your feet planted firmly in the ground.
This letter is addressed to all of the young men out there who, like me, are very sensitive. I do not mean sensitive in the sense that society makes you out to be. I mean intellectually curious, anxiety-prone, empathic, perceptive, depression-prone, creative, moody, libidinous, and acutely feeling men. This is for you.
In the last year and a half of my life I have experienced profound anxiety and depression. I am on the mend, but it seems like the world isn’t. Ever notice that? With Fukushima ready to explode at any minute, nuclear missiles being stockpiled, sex being gloriously advertised and fed to us at every minute, information streaming into our open-channeled brains at a mile a minute, and the expectations of our parents and peers homing in on us, life can be kind of tough. Especially as a man, when you feel the pressures of inadequacy buried deep in your biology and psyche.
I’m here to tell you what I’m doing to make sense of the mess, and I hope it helps, because for God’s sake, life is crazy. I mean, we drive machines while looking at machines. Hello?
Here’s a simple, easy-to-digest list of things you can do to keep calm, remain stoic with your feet planted firmly in the ground:
1) Find a meditation or yoga practice that works for you. Try them all. Don’t give up until you’ve found one that makes you feel light and grounded, calm and energetic, and ready to weather the storm.
2) Get off facebook. Spend no more than five minutes a day looking at your newsfeed, then go about your business.
3) Do something that you’re really passionate about. Do it in spite of what anyone else says or thinks, because as a man, your passion and purpose is your life.
4) Date abundantly. There are thousands of people out there. I go for women, so I’ve created an OKCupid account, gone on dating forums, watched videos, learned from friends and mentors, and am now dating seriously for the first time in my life. I have no idea what to expect. Neither should you.
5) Exercise every single, goddamn day. Seriously. Swim. Hot yoga. Rock climbing. Martial arts. Tennis. Baseball. ANYTHING that gets you out of your head, into your body and the present moment.
6) Have sex. Mindbodygreen.com is a great resource that shows that sex reduces stress levels and increases good chemicals in your brain. Don’t obsess over it, but seek out it out healthily because it’s good for you.
7) Simplify your life and prioritize.
8) Make a calendar. Google calendar all of your activities and stick to a schedule.
9) Stop listening to the opinions of others, ignore pundits, and treat your mind as a temple that doesn’t need any more pollution.
10) Don’t listen to me if you don’t want to, but only if it makes sense to you.
That’s it. Get out of your head and into your life. It’s a process. I’m nowhere near there. But I’d thought I’d help a brother out. Or two or three or a hundred thousand.
Photo: sara biljana / flickr