One critical mental exercise for those with Anxiety

No articles today, no witty quotes, I’m just going to share with you a little life experience here. Many of us have full lives. Spouses, In-laws, Children, Friends, Co-Workers, Pets on and on. Some of us have too full of a life, meaning we have so many ways to expend energy and time we often come up short. What does that mean exactly? In short it means we are expanding our mental energy and time on so many different things we are contributing and in some cases making worse our mental health.

“So what is the exercise Karac?”

I do this from time to time, but the exercise is tonight when you are in bed staring at the ceiling before bed, list in your mind the 10 most important people in your life. I mean the people who are really important. These are the people you truly love. Your kids, your spouse, your dad… Make a mental list. Did you even get to 10? I don’t mean people you play cards with on Saturday nights. I mean the real substantive people in your life. This can include pets, it’s imperative that you get clear in your head who is on that list.

Some lists help a lot, some not so much

So the exercise has two parts, it’s the next day do you remember the list? You can write it down if you need to, but the last part of the exercise is you honestly assign to each how much time you spend with each person per week.

I know this sounds silly, but trust me on this. So you got the list of people (10 or under) you have assigned an estimated amount of time you spend with each per week. How many hours (again rough estimate) was it? It’s critical you were honest with your estimate here but you round up to the nearest hour and divide by 168 (the total hours in a week) and you get a %. Was it higher than 50%? Less than 25%?

Remember in that 168 total hours, you sleep, you eat, you go to the bathroom, you go to work, and you drive to the market… It’s critical you were honest with your time allotment estimate to the people on your list. If you were you now know, on average what % of your week to you spend with the people whom are most important to you.

This % changes during holidays etc., but on a normal week that is where you are at. The result of this exercise is the show you how much time you spend with the people who are most important to you. You should be working actively to increase this. If you have anxiety, it’s likely the people on that list (and pets) are super important to you, you may not even have 10 (I have 8 on mine). Whatever your list revealed, it’s your normal. If you continue to do the same things over and over and expect a different result, that’s insanity.

Increase the %, you can do it, one day at a time. Interested in more posts about the value of time? Check out my post here.

Tinnitus – The ringing never stops….

I have Tinnitus. If you don’t know what that is, it is a constant “ringing in the ears”. Tens of millions of people have this issue and there is no cure for it. Here is a great link that gives you some basic information on Tinnitus  

This has contributed to my anxiety a lot and has become more and more of an issue over the last 6 months for me. Tinnitus can vary day to day, some days it can be extreme, others it’s not present. The worst part is it’s not treatable. Tinnitus is usually a result of damage to the cochlea in your inner ear.

This is the part of the ear that picks up vibrations and sends signals to your brain. So, when you hear a sharp noise and you wince, your cochlea sent the message to your brain that a loud noise is happening. Tinnitus is a milder version of that loud noise, meaning it is damaged, so it is sending a signal to your brain constantly, thus the ringing.

I live with this condition but some days it is very hard for me. I have no one to blame but myself. When I was younger I went to many concerts (over 100), ya I can tell people I saw Ozzy & Metallica in 1987, or Van Halen in 1991, or numerous Grateful dead concerts… but at what price? I listened to loud music my whole life.

Turn down the volume !

Now as I approach 50 I am dealing with Tinnitus. The world will not end, I will survive this but there are days when it really REALLY sucks. I am already dealing with anxiety issues, but this just makes it worse. There is no treatment, there is no cure this is something I must live with because I was zealous when I was younger. I enjoyed the concerts, I have a lot of awesome memories from that time in my life but there was a price to be paid for the fun, and now I am paying it.

Please, take care of your ears. I see so many younger people walking around with ear buds in. You are just asking for trouble, Tinnitus sucks. Don’t be stupid like I was, your ears are not meant to hear constant loud noises, give them a break and turn down the volume!  

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When you know more about what’s wrong, you can help make it right.

That was the catch phrase from the original Zoloft commercial I remember seeing this commercial on TV years ago and thinking to myself at the time “ya that sounds like me” I have always been of the opinion that taking a prescription drug is like surgery or war, it should done as a last resort. I never have, and still don’t take a prescription for my anxiety and border line depression. I have discussed this with my Dr over the years she has offered to write me a prescription many times.

For me I always wanted to fight against my issues myself and to a degree I have succeeded. However from time to time I wonder “would it be easier if I just took a pill?” I imagine it would but I am thankful I do not have symptoms severe enough to seriously consider it at this time. I see more modern commercials, with sun light shining on happy smiling people and a part of me thinks that the marketing of these drugs has become sinister.

You see, if you are someone who suffers from anxiety or depression, regardless of degree, you at some point have experienced the very real desperation of “being in the moment”. These are the episodes where things are very brutal, you think the worse, feel the worse and your mind allows for all sorts of horrific outcomes. I sometimes feel when I see these new commercials that they play on these, for some, very morbid notions and offer an unrealistic outcome.

The sun breaks, your smiling with beautiful people… I mean maybe I am being overly cynical here but when I rewatch the original Zoloft commercial it’s a cartoon blob being followed around by a cloud. It wasn’t glamorous it was simple, you take Zoloft and the rain cloud goes away. I know that’s essentially the same thing that the modern commercials are doing but when you have an animation like this, it abstracts the outcomes enough to temper your expectations.

I know, spoken like a true believer… Anyway if you are on medication this wasn’t meant to offend or be judgmental. I’m lucky I’m coping on my own, but if you are not on medication and you think you might need to be that’s okay. You should check with your Dr ASAP and talk to them about your condition. Taking medication to address anxiety and depression is nothing to be ashamed about you should be commended for taking action to correct a situation.

As the original Zoloft ad said “When you know more about what’s wrong, you can help make it right”. Maybe medication is for you, but don’t let the commercials inform you exclusively, talk to your dr !

Dressing to feel good !

How to improve as a man – 3 must haves by 30

Many of the posts I do on this topic pertain to relationships. To be clear, I am a heterosexual male so my experience and desires are focused exclusively toward females. I think its paramount for all of us to be honest about our nature and to embrace it. As long as we are not harming other people it’s all good. Relationships aside, improving at any stage of life makes you more attractive. Static and stuck people are rarely sought after, in nearly all aspects of life. For men, 30 is an important year it’s when you are truly entering your prime.

Don’t be fooled by articles that tell you a man’s prime is when he is in his 20’s because his testosterone is at its peak. That’s physical prime, and that’s important but the complete package? You aren’t there yet in your 20’s. By the time you are 30 you should be entering the best years of your life. This includes attracting good partners, income increasing, physical well-being, and mental health. Below is a list of 3 things you must have by 30.

  1. Have a career: I know that’s general but let me clarify. By 30 you should have your certifications and degrees. You should have a few years (or more) experience in your chosen profession. You should have a professional network. You should have a clear understanding of what your income potential should be. By 30 years old your career should be starting to blossom. You shouldn’t be vacillating anymore on what you want to do, from 30-50 you should be doing it and growing your wealth.
  2. Have a health regimen: This doesn’t just mean going to the gym, but that is part of it. You should have a workout schedule. You should have sleep discipline (going to bed and awaking at the same times consistently) you should have a grooming routine (teeth, skin, beard, hair) that is daily, weekly and monthly. More on this…. Getting a haircut shouldn’t be “wow things look straggly need to get a trim” you should be on a once a month (or sooner) schedule so your hair always looks good.
  3. Have Relationship clarity: By 30 you should understand what you want. MGTOW? Fine. Marriage? Okay. There shouldn’t be any more games mentally. Simply put, it’s okay to date a lot but the game is over. Meaning you don’t have to fool anyone anymore, if dating is all you want from a partner you don’t have to hide it and should be upfront about it. This leads to consensual EMOTIONAL relationships which is key for successful men. You don’t want the drama, if you want marriage cool. If you don’t, be clear let the other person decide if THEY want to continue.
Squats
Men should never skip leg day.

If you have these things by 30 you are going to have a great decade. You should be making decent money, you are experienced, confident you’ve been around a little you are not some dumb kid in his 20’s anymore. This will attract more positive outcomes for you and it’s something that you should be working towards regardless of where you are in life. Maybe your 20’s was a mess and now at 32 you are thinking “where the hell am I going to be in 10 years?” Do these 3 things and set yourself up for a glorious 4th decade. For me 30-50 was the best years of my life.

My teen years were fun but I made so many bad choices. Now at 51 I am planning retirement and will have no problem achieving it because in my 30’s I buckled down, got my shit together and became a better man.

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Gandalf

THE WISDOM OF TOLKIEN…. AGAIN….

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit or There and Back Again

I’ve looked for things, I’ve looked for peace of mind and to no avail. I have found Anxiety, Stress and depression. Did I want to find these things? A part of me did, how else can I confront, overcome and reconcile these issues?

I’ve looked for other things, I’ve looked for happiness and have succeeded. I am married for 20 years with a great family who understands that I have anxiety, they are just not in tune with the depth but that’s okay.

I’ve always been averse to popular notions that -sound- foolish. “look within yourself” or “the answer lies within” I have been foolish not to apply these simple sayings to my historic behaviors. The answer to many of the I’ll of my life have in fact been my reactions to what I perceived others thought. Of course, I couldn’t really know, I have no way of knowing the operation of someone else’s mind.

I’ve looked for it, the answer. The answer to why I am predisposed to consider what others think. Perhaps it is a societal norm? Perhaps a social construct I am bound to in the subconscious? Or perhaps I need to continue looking at myself and find what has been there all along.

I am okay, I am normal, I am to critical of myself, I am an expert in me. It’s not really what I was after, but I will find it. The wisdom of Tolkien once again astounds me.

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Thank you !

Hey folks, not a formal post today taking a day or two off from articles/formal posts. I do want to take a moment and say thank you. Thank you for taking your time to read my blog, like my posts, your subscriptions. All that really means a lot to me, I am a small blogger and it does go a long way to keeping me motivated.

Again, thank you so much for your continued support of me and the “A Gen X Point of View” blog.

Your Pagan Friend,

Karac

Well intended articles about anxiety

Anxiety can be crippling but for most of us we live with it. Not every day is an exercise of exhaustion, meaning many days we are functional, highly functional actually. Then we have days where we don’t want to get out of bed. That is the life of the normal person with anxiety. So maybe you read a blog on anxiety for help. Maybe you take some meds, maybe your anxiety is more acute. Where ever you are in your anxiety journey there are tens of thousands of resources that try to help (like this blog)

Found an article here that talks a lot about anxiety and how to harness it for a positive outcome. The article itself is decent but the bottom line is, it’s another well intended article that wants you to change how you think. You know the drill, harness your anxiety and change your thought process… I mean if it were that easy anxiety wouldn’t be an increasing pandemic in the mental health world. Of course you strive to change how you feel but it’s probably the hardest part of the journey.

From the article: “Of course, some anxiety truly seems to come without a productive reason and is best handled by simply redirecting your thoughts or through medication or other support from a trained professional—certainly don’t hesitate to seek help if you feel stuck.”

Dealing with Mental Health issues can be chilling.

Now to be fair the article does give move then this but this is part of the article summary. Redirecting your thoughts is one of those catch phrases you hear in the anxiety world, often from people who don’t have anxiety. Is that what they told everyone in 2020 when people were freaking out about Coivd?

The most important thing you can do as someone who suffers from anxiety is to create a mental (or physical) list of when and where your anxiety is triggered. This article tells you that as well but I’m not going to tell you to “redirect your thoughts” but rather look back at the list as often as reasonable and look for patterns.

If you get swells of anxiety every time you go to Starbucks, maybe it’s time to stop going to Starbucks? You have to be honest with yourself, and you have to give yourself enough grace to realize your triggers are okay. It’s okay to have anxiety and not feel okay. Well intended people and articles are trying the help, but the best help you can get is understanding when and why your triggers happen.

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The easiest most direct way to lose weight

Yes, I have discovered the secret. All the celebrities, the fitness gurus kept it well guarded but I found it! This secret elixir to weight loss is tested and proven. You will lose weight if you employ it and you can eat just about any kind of food you want.

“Well? What’s the secret!!!” the masses scream….

Eat less calories then you burn

I know, the dumbfounded look you have will subside shortly. It is that easy. Counting calories works. If you burn 3000 calories a day and you eat 2500 you have a caloric deficit of 500 calories. If you do this for multiple days in a row you will lose weight.

No special supplements, no complex mix of food at specific hours, no gut busting workouts. Now all of those will make the process faster yes but you literally only need to eat less calories then you burn every day and you will lose weight. I know there are umpteen excuses and reasons why this can’t be done etc. so on, I’ve made many of them and heard the rest.

Get moving and eat less, you will lose weight. You could go spend thousands on meal plans, exercise programs etc. if you want but, do this simple process for 1 month, caloric deficit, let me know how it goes.

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Get outside !

U.S. Holiday – Labor Day.

Yes, we have another holiday in the U.S. Labor day. First let me say that the reason I do these holiday posts on the blog is I get a lot of traffic from people outside the U.S> (thank you for that!). Labor day in the U.S., for the population is the unofficial end of the summer. In the past it used to mean back to school too but that has changed a lot most kids are back by the end of august. Additionally, Labor day is the beginning of the unofficial “Holiday season” meaning in the U.S. we have a major holiday every month from now until the end of the year. All of those holidays of course have major sales associated with them.

How did Labor Day come to be? During the industrial period of the U.S. unions began to form and wield more and more power. In the 1880’s – 90’s they started to create the narrative of the value of labor and how the workers of the country should be celebrated. From there it took off and became more political but the heart of the holiday is the celebration of the American worker. It is celebrated on the 1st Monday of Sept and became a federal holiday in 1894. So gov offices are closed, courts, post offices, banks, schools and most Americans have the day off from work or those that do work get paid above and beyond their normal rate.

The wiki page here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Day    has a very good summary of the holiday, far more detail then I have. This is not the same as international workers’ day or in many countries May Day. While they generally represent the same premise and spirit they are all distinct from one another in both origin and date of celebration.

Most Americans will have this day off and will have a small party at their homes. It will likely be a BBQ and in most of the country we will still have summer weather. However, Sept is a transitional month, in many parts of the U.S. Sept can start off very hot and by the end of the month we have cooled into day time highs of 60F. Notable for Labor Day, as mentioned above, is the start of the “holiday season”. Specifically, Labor day is usually the best time of the year to get a sale on a car because the dealers are prepping to receive the next model year and want to clear out their inventories.

As this is posted I have the day off as well and I am working in my yard today cleaning up a flower bed. I hope you have a great labor day too where ever you are.

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Advanced finance tip – Aristocrat stocks

As I embark on this post I want to remind everyone that any financial advice you read here is my opinion. You should always do your due diligence when it comes to your personal finance. Talk to as many people as possible, read as much as possible and get educated. On this blog you can find many basic finance tips that are basic and require very little in the way of finance knowledge they are common sense based.

This tip is common sense based to, but it is a more advanced approach to accumulating income. Aristocrat stocks is a term used for companies who pay out dividends, with two very important distinctions.

  1. A company is a dividend aristocrat if it increases the dividend it pays to shareholders for at least 25 straight years.
  2. A dividend aristocrat must also be a member of the S&P 500, and some investors may add additional screening criteria.

Source data https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/dividend-aristocrat.asp

Compounding interest over time is the secret sauce to increased wealth.

The first distinction is the most important, it increases its dividend payouts for at least 25 years straight. These are companies like McDonalds, Exxon, IBM, Walmart, all huge corporations with decades of a track record of sales and growth. These are expensive stocks, they are blue chips, they are some of the most cash flush companies in the world. Some of these companies’ net sales in a year are greater than many countries GDP.

Thus the title “Aristocrat”. So what does this mean for you? As you move into a more comfortable space with your finances you will come to a point where you will want to generate income. Stock growth in of itself isn’t income until you sell the security. Dividends however are payouts you get for just owning the stock. Now why Aristocrat stocks are a “thing” now (they always were, but you see it more now) is due to the fact that interest rates have been so low for decades you cannot earn decent income from banks.

To put it in context, in the 1990’s your range on 6-month Certificate of Deposit was 8.62% – 3.53%. Now that’s a 5% range which is significant. A 6-month CD now? Good luck getting more than .5%. So of course investors have looked elsewhere for securities which gave you a guaranteed return. Believe me if CD rates were 3% or higher we would be discussing that. So we turn to aristocrat stocks. Even during economic down turns, we know places like Walmart, Apple etc. aren’t going to go out of business they are too big.

So investing in single stocks is dangerous, the market could take a down turn and the actual PRICE PER SHARE might go down. In that instance you may actually have a loss of value but you will still get a dividend. Remember Aristocrat stocks are a great means to getting guaranteed income. We used to be able to get this income from CD’s and saving accounts. The downside to this is, many people are in the stock market hence why it is so bloated. Ideally we get back to a reasonable interest rate that enables a good asset mix.

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