How to improve as a man – Consider the source

There are many people in the “men’s” space now. You have several female you tubers/tick tockers who give advice. Many men, on and on. Here is the thing, you have to consider the source. It’s going to be a quick post today because the point isn’t going to take a lot of articulation. Let me put it to you very succinctly, if someone doesn’t have a penis, how are they going to be able to advise you on how to manage yours? It would be like me giving a pregnant woman advice on how to handle body issues. Sure I can cite my experiences but I am not a woman the extent of my experience and ability to relate only goes so far.

taking advice from a woman on how to behave as a man isn’t a good idea. There is one major caveat to this, if you want to make THAT particular woman happy then yes adhere to her behavior parameters. Otherwise be yourself, and you will attract people (men and women) who want to hang with you. Additionally, be very careful which men you take advice from. As an example if you see me giving 20 years olds dating advice you should probably not take it very seriously. I am 52 and married.

You get the point. Look for people in similar situations that are like minded. The You Tuber with 6 mil subs isn’t going to relate to you directly. Maybe at one time he did but now? It’s unlikely. The masculinity gurus out there are good, to a degree. I mean the messages are not all that bad but for the most part if you live in a small town in Alabama and want to be a successful man, it’s probably more prudent to look for other successful men from small towns in Alabama.

Always consider the source of the information you are consuming and attempting to incorporate. The single best way to get better as a man is to look inward and make self-improvements. Hygiene, physical appearance, income, these are a few things that inspire positive emotions within you and flow outward that then attract positive outcomes. As the wise Jordan Peterson said “If you can’t even clean up your own room, who the hell are you to give advice to the world?” 

It’s a metaphor, the “room” is really any subject. Always consider the source.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

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 too 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.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post this one? Click here.

Surviving 2020 & covid

Anxiety or a Panic Attack ?

If you have anxiety you might be exposed to, or have had a panic attack. This is the physical manifestation of your anxiety. Often it doesn’t play out as the person think’s it will, meaning the “panic” doesn’t nearly equate to the situation more often than not. However, that doesn’t minimize or negate what is actually happening to you. Panic often delves into physical conditions that impact you negatively. Examples:

  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
  • Heart palpitations or racing heart
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Choking feeling
  • Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy

The real problem is these attacks can happen at any time. Literally ANYTHING can be a trigger and this is, for a lot of people where anxiety ends up. They live in fear not of, I don’t know, let’s say spiders, but the PANIC that seeing the spider will invoke. I’ve never had a serious panic attack, I have heard in my life when the subject comes up in my social circle there is an immediate dismissal. “It’s not that bad” or “They made a mountain out of a mole hill”.

Sometimes the smallest thing can become a huge explosion.

What that narrative does is it creates the conditions by which someone who might have panic attacks has even more anxiety about it. Our culture celebrates strength and fortitude in essentially all ethnic backgrounds for each gender. Having anxiety that leads to a panic attack doesn’t make you weak, it’s not something you should be ashamed of and if you have people in your life telling you it’s not a big deal you should consider strongly limiting your time with them.

In extreme cases a panic attack can lead to death, either by suicide, heart attack or loss of control of your faculties. BREATHE!

I am not patronizing you, it sometimes is that simple. Even if you are in the middle of a grocery store and you think people are staring at you and you are in full panic, take slow deep breaths. 10 slow deep breaths is a minute of your life, you can do this and any social anxiety you may derive from that 1 minute where you think people are staring at you will dissipate quickly as your panic starts to decrease with every breath.

You aren’t alone, you are not abnormal. You have anxiety and you need to be honest with yourself about it. When in doubt, take a deep breath.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here. 

Anxiety: The benefits of having Anxiety

In my travels I have come across all sorts of articles on anxiety. To be blunt most of them are “change how you think” rehashes. I found an article here that is a little odd, as it talks about the “unexpected benefits” of stress and anxiety. Of course I had to read it and its honesty not a bad read.

From the Article: “You have probably noticed that when you’re anxious about something, you can’t sit still. That reflects that short-term stress and anxiety are energizing emotions. They are your body’s way of preparing you for action.

Although most work problems don’t require physical strength, they do require mental energy in order to put in the hours required to address the issue. The motivational lift that a little anxiety can provide can be harnessed as you get to work. Your energy may also engage your teammates to help dig in.”

Now that is actually a valid point. Anxiety can often make you focus on the issue you are anxious about. This can lead to positive outcomes and a resolution to that issue. This article is short but it is absolutely worth a read because it does something that very few articles about anxiety do.

Anxiety can make your whole life a mess.

It tries to focus on potential positive outcomes of HAVNG anxiety. It’s not telling you to think differently, its telling you that while anxiety can be crippling and horrible for your health there are from time to time positive outcomes.

I’ve read many, many articles about anxiety and this is one of the few that I read a few times because I was astounded at its tone. This article is really applicable to people like myself (and maybe you) who are not on the extreme of the spectrum. It’s meant for those of us who function at a high level with anxiety and it gives specific examples of positives outcomes from anxiety.

It’s worth a read but remember, anxiety can be volatile. This isn’t a catch all solution to anxiety you should take it for what it is. A good illustration of how positive outcomes, occasionally can be had when you have anxiety.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Wisdom from the past: “Be like water”

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” Bruce Lee

The above is a famous quote from an interview from the 60’s. He was asked to encapsulate his philosophy etc. and of course that’s nearly impossible for anyone to do in a 40s sound bite. Its important to understand the context here as well, Bruce Lee was a martial artist (perhaps the most famous one) and an actor.

What can we glean from this bit of wisdom from the past?

Water has the ability to adapt to nearly any situation. As Lee says, “put it in a cup, it becomes the cup”. For those of us with anxiety this might not make a whole lot of sense. It requires a mind set and personal mental flexibility to allow yourself to “fit” into any situation. For us, again, those with anxiety I think the key take away here is we are both the water and the cup.

Many of us are struggling to be comfortable in our own skin, in multiple situations. Its far more important to be comfortable with yourself then with everything else around you, that comes later. You are the water and the cup, you have anxiety, you have to acknowledge and accept it. You have to forgive yourself for feeling the way you do, you have to accept yourself as you are and understand you are not deficient.

Once you accept yourself, you will more easily be able to employ this wisdom from the past and be like water. You will be able to navigate social situation, you will be able to function out there in the world with other people with all the mental exercises that go with it.

You are doing great, one day at a time.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Anxiety: Self Care?

So as my journey with anxiety continues I often stumble across articles that leave me somewhat baffled. You see Anxiety is now big business. Cynical? Yes, but with good reason. It’s not just the drugs or treatment facilities all of which have value it’s the media surrounding anxiety. Anxiety is often used as a cudgel to support other narratives. “Gas prices rise again, fueling anxiety fears” (that’s an actual headline from a main stream media outlet).

Sure I write about anxiety to, so I do understand that I am engaging in a bit of hypocrisy here but there are degrees. People like me who are not engaging in anxiety as a commercial enterprise (I make no money from this blog) are doing so because they are affected by the issue. Many in the media engage in the anxiety space to drive view, create more anxiety and ultimately obtain more clicks.

“That’s very cynical Karac, can you back that up?”

Maybe. I found an article here that discusses 4 types of “self-care” you can engage in when you are “feeling anxious”. To summarize they are:

  1. Say to yourself “There is no emergency right now”
  2. “Perspective talking”, as explained “What would someone who is just as smart or conscientious as you, but who thinks differently than you, think about the topic of your anxiety?”
  3. “Engage with one of your core values, unrelated to the topic of your anxiety”
  4. “Take a break from trying to avoid or escape feeling anxious”

Now the article elaborates on each point but the short version is, think differently. I mean, really? This is clearly someone who doesn’t understand what anxiety is. The entire fight for those of us who have it is preventative. We want to stop anxiety attacks and giving us more reactive advice that basically boils down to “think about something else” is ridiculous. Like we hadn’t tried that before…

Oscar Wilde
Any more spectacular advice?

I realize I am entering into the ranting phase here but if you have had an anxiety attack at any point in your life, even mild anxiety attacks you know that you Can’t simply change what you are thinking about. I mean you could in theory… Next time you are anxious about getting on an elevator because you have a phobia, try head butting a wall 5 times, you’ll forget about the elevator soon enough.

These articles aren’t helpful anymore no matter how well intentioned. What do I do PRIOR to an anxiety attack so I don’t ever have to be there? Give me tools to combat anxiety before and after an attack occurs. I get it, I need to think of something else when I am in the throes of an anxiety attack. I’ve seen the article a THOUSAND TIMES. What can you do to combat anxiety BEFORE an attack?

Here are 3 things, I covered these before on this blog:

  1. Get more sleep
  2. Create structure “At 11:30 AM I will begin to prepare my lunch”
  3. See a Dr, get medicine and stick to it if prescribed
  4. Exercise more

These are things that PREVENT anxiety attacks. Look it, many of us in this space are writing pieces that are redundant, we’ve said a lot of these things before I get it. If you can “change what you’re thinking about” then you’ve already defeated anxiety, essentially. These articles aren’t without value, there are often some pearls of wisdom within but the overall message of “change how you think” is bordering on absurd at this point.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Content on this blog – Anxiety pieces                      

So I wanted to do a quick update on some of the content I do on this blog. If you have been here for a while you know that when this blog started I focused a lot on Anxiety issues. I have anxiety and invasive thoughts and I was compelled to put those issues to prose. Over the last few years my personal situation/relationship with anxiety has improved. To the point where It no longer pervades every aspect of my life, every day.

I am blessed, and while I have worked hard on it, including the cathartic process of writing this blog I am still haunted with anxiety from time to time. So this is the reason why there are less anxiety posts in 2022 than in prior years. There will always be a portion of this blog dedicated to anxiety and anxiety issues and as winter begins to approach it’s likely that portion will increase because that is when I feel it most.

Surviving 2020 & covid
Anxiety Sucks

My journey with anxiety is currently on a positive track. I understand many of my readers that is not the case. I have not, and will not forget about you. Anxiety is real and it is devastating to millions of people all over the world. I hope on this blog you find a little bit of solace for it. You will always have a safe place here, I will always be an advocate for anxiety and the resulting issues.

I hope your anxiety journey has more calm waters then stormy seas. I am currently in a calm period and it’s been a great string of a few months’ despite having some serious challenges. I will continue to serve the community I have created here, you will see anxiety pieces on the blog and I sincerely hope they help you on your journey.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Gandalf

The Wisdom of J.R.R. Tolkien

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So, do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Time is the most precious commodity on the planet. It does not care about your race, gender, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation. It moves forward regardless of your personal situation, it is all encompassing. You and I are simply passengers on the journey of time, like a train rolling down the track. No one knows when they will get to their stop.

Do you wait in anticipation for the stop to come or do you take advantage of the journey on the way to the stop?

Gandalf was right, we must decide what to do with the time given us.  

I have made horrible decisions regarding time, I have wasted a lot of it. I have also had moments of absolute joy and reveled in the moment. Despite everything that is thrown at us, every minute, of every hour, of every day, of every week, of every month, of every year, our greatest challenge is to enact Gandalf’s wisdom.

J.R.R. Tolkien was a brilliant writer. In his works you can find so many gems, it boggles the mind.

I decided to spend some of my time sharing this with you, have you decided what it is you are going to do with the time given to you?

Wisdom from the past – Psalm 34:18

The book of psalms is a wealth of wisdom. For my regular readers you know I am not a Christian, I am a pagan heathen. That doesn’t mean that religious texts and doctrine are without merit. How did Bob Dylan put it? “We always did feel the same we just saw it from a different point of view”. We aren’t here for Dylan’s wisdom, we are here for the psalm.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

For those of you in faith you already have a close relationship with god. For those of us who are spiritual and or unsure? This is of great comfort. Grief will happen to you in your life, and it’s a very lonely place to be. It’s worse than anxiety really because of the profound sense of loss. Take heart, if you can, maybe the lord is with you right now, even if you don’t believe.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Ancient Wisdom - Confucius

Ancient Wisdom – Confucius

Many of us have heard of Confucius, we know that he was a Chinese philosopher who through his years of writing, observation and work in government created a philosophy of personal morality. This isn’t a political piece or a religious piece. As individuals with anxiety we can use wisdom of the past to help us in the present.

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
—Confucius

How many times have we been faced with an issue that looks like a mountain? We get overwhelmed and we fall into the pit of woe that is anxiety and mental health issues. Is one little saying going to help us? Maybe a little, maybe not at all.

How to move mountains
When you have Anxiety, Mountains appear often.

That said at the end of the day events happen to us, mountains appear. We have to deal with them. The beauty of this wisdom is it illustrates literally and figuratively how to deal with a problem that becomes a mountain.

You have to start, and you work the problem one small step (stone) at a time. Look we all have obstacles that pop up in our lives and some of them are extreme. You can move that mountain, be calm, and be methodical… Take one step at a time, one stone at a time and in no time the mountain will be moved and you will be right back on your chosen path.

Thank you so much for coming by and supporting my blog! Want to see more posts like this one? Click here.