Self-help guides are typically feel-good “you’re not really a loser after all” trash. Don’t feel bad about being so pathetic, so much of our culture presently exclaims, in the meantime, here’s ways not to feel pathetic! Well, I’m not going to tell you to feel good about being miserable. I think you can improve your lot in life, and it’s certainly worth trying. Feeling depressed? Angry at women? Disgusted with everything you read online? Considering taking over a military base and committing seppuku? Well, hang on a second. Give the stuff here whirl, first.
Drink more water!
Stay hydrated. I’m not kidding. Mood swings, irritability, petulance, pessimism, melancholy, and general feelings of apocalyptic despair can be cured within minutes just by chugging down a glass or two of water. All those liberal SJWs shitting up your Facebook feed with maddening, crazed nonsense typed in effervescent furor? In all likelihood, they’re cripplingly dehydrated (in addition to being SJWs). So before you hit the reply button and get mired in a five day long stream-of-consciousness political debate on social media platforms, take a drink of water and remind yourself of whom your talking to.
Skimming your Twitter feed doesn’t count. Nor does reading blogs. Also, genre fiction doesn’t count, either. Read real books. Put away your Game of Thrones and Harry Potter—and don’t try to defend them as being ‘different’ or ‘worth it’. You can read those some other time. You need to read books that will challenge you, both in diction and in content. Genre fiction is basically primetime television, but you can’t sustain a creative mindset with the endless regurgitations of law dramas, police procedurals, or comic book superheroes.
For nonfiction to get into, I have a recommended reading list available right here on QNUW, in addition to its accompanying book guide (at this moment, still in progress). Start there. For nonfiction, look up the Western canon. Optimally, I’d suggest reading for at least an hour in the morning and an hour before bed. Try to squeeze in an hour during your lunch break, too. For those of us with jobs and commitments, only reading an hour before bed should suffice.
Every day except Sunday. Well, Sunday per se doesn’t matter much, but I’d recommend doing at least 30 minutes of exercise six days a week. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot, either, especially if you already have assigned workout or gym days two or three times a week. But do some warmups, basic calisthenics and simple weight training (some hand weights from athletics stores usually only cost a couple of bucks) every day, or hop on your bike, go for a run, something. Keep the blood flowing. Having a designated rest day is a good idea, but try to keep that day being the same day every week. Sometimes that can be tough if you work at low-wage jobs with fluctuating work weeks, so a designated rest day isn’t always easy to maintain. Do your best, though.
Eventually you want to set time aside twice a week for more intense workouts, but keep the 30 minute every day baseline going, too. But if you’re a NEET basket case who’s just now trying to sort himself out, don’t overdo it. Start off just with 30 minutes, but do it six consecutive days a week. Build that habit up. You’ll feel a lot better afterward. You don’t even need to hit the gym. Start with calisthenics or something. Find a cheap bike on craigslist. Just work out.
Pay attention to your diet.
I’m not the biggest health food nut around. In fact, I admit that barely pay attention to what I eat. That said, everything I’m about to tell you to do is stuff I did either by financial necessity or by a gradual shift in my tastes, and I’m glad for it.
Cut out sodas. They rot your teeth, screw around with your hormones, and destroy your body’s ability to process sugar. Avoid going out to eat; you’ll save a lot of money this way, plus most restaurants don’t really make very good food. This bit is more of a case-by-case thing, however; you’ll want to balance eating out with being sociable, but I still recommend avoiding fast food joints whenever possible. Avoid sweets high in processed flour and sugar, like Twinkies and TasteyCakes. You think you like them. Spoilers: you actually don’t, but you might be addicted to the processed sugars. Whatever’s in those things really screws around with your metabolism and messes around with your mood, not to mention, as with sodas, they destroy your body’s ability to process sugar. Also, try to cut down on your sodium intake.
What to eat instead: if you’re going to eat sweets, start by making them yourself. For the more sophisticated sweets, get fresh ones from a bakery or invest in some decent chocolate bars, not that Hershey’s crap. Eat more oranges, strawberries, and bananas, drink more orange juice. By and large, cut down on sugars in general.
Eat more fresh produce; it’s not that expensive and it tastes better than food out of boxes. You don’t have to eat salads—personally, I hate salads—but mix into your normal meals things like spinach or kale (not both at once!), bell peppers, tomatoes, whatever. Avoiding your vegetables is something children do, if you still want to be a child, you’re a fucking idiot.
While you’re in the produce section, grab some ginger root. When you get home, shave the skin off, cut them up, and boil it into a tea. Make that tea as dark as you can, then when you serve it, dump some honey into it. This is one of the only teas I bother drinking. It’s great for your energy levels and it’s something of a turbo boost for your immune system. Drink it when you get sick. Throw in cinnamon too.
Don’t buy avocados too often. They’re pretty good, but I don’t really understand this whole millennial thing about avocados. They’re expensive and somewhat exotic vegetables, at least in my area, so getting one or two every once in a while to mix things up is fine. No one needs to eat one every day though. That’s just some kind of gimmick. Spend that money on something you need.
Canned beans are pretty good, cheap, and easy to prepare. Eggs are a little less cheap, but still worth eating so long as you stay physically active. Avoid ground beef. Don’t eat poultry too often. Red meat is great if you can afford it, especially if you’re working out regularly. Don’t eat farmed salmon and don’t eat shellfish too often, but if you’re a millennial college kid, you probably can’t afford to do that anyway.
For the bulk of your dinner, once the vegetable and proteins are satisfied, eat rice. Those ramen noodles are fine, but only get the super cheap ones that come as bricks and never mix in the powdered flavors. The cups have astronomical amounts of sodium in them, and so do the little flavor packets. Ramen can get pretty tedious after a while, so I’d mix it up with rice. Get yourself a cheap rice cooker and you’ll be golden.
Establish A Consistent Sleep Schedule.
Go to bed with a one-hour long window every single night, like say, between eleven and twelve at night. It doesn’t have to be down to the minute. Also, set an alarm and wake up within a similar window of time in the mornings. Most people, despite your self-important odes to the contrary (I just function better at three in the morning! XD) are just about guaranteed to start feeling better within a week of a consistent sleep schedule, not sleeping in past nine in the morning, and not going to bed past 2AM.
That said, I understand some of you probably have demanding and fluctuating work schedules that make a consistent sleep schedule very difficult if not impossible to execute. For now, focus on getting at last six hours of sleep a night, but no more than eight. If you’re regularly sleeping ten hours a night then you’re suffering from a serious imbalance of some sort, likely caused by low exercise, bad diet, and a distinct lack of good habits.
Track your finances.
Don’t waste your money. Every cent you spend on video games is a cent you aren’t putting into your future house or your future car. Start keeping track of where your money goes, at least roughly. You don’t have to be a miser about it, but knowing what you have to spend will at least give you freedom to choose how to spend it. One of the easiest ways to recognize what your priorities actually are versus what you think they are is to take a good look at how you’re spending your money.
Porn destroys your body, your mind, and your soul. Men were not made to indulge in such hedonism in front of a computer. Pornography, made so readily available by the internet, could very well be the single most destructive force undermining civilization today. You gotta stop.
In all likelihood, you’re addicted to it and you don’t even realize it. Look up twelve step programs to kick the habit. People have recovered from heroin before, whose effects are even more distinguishable upon the body and psyche; porn, by comparison, won’t exactly be a breeze, but seems at least surmountable.
You can look up for yourself the benefits of quitting pornography and masturbation. They’re pretty common knowledge at this point, vastly outweighing the endorphin rush that orgasms give you—particularly when constant exposure to that endorphin rush ends up screwing up your brain chemistry like drug addictions do. You’ll have more energy and improved focus, if nothing else.
Develop a hobby.
Better find something to do when you aren’t working or studying, exercising, or reading. Practice something. It’s up to you. I recommend learning how to play a musical instrument, and preferably something better than a guitar. Pick up a cheap keyboard and learn the piano. Or the flute. Or violin. Something interesting, challenging, and preferably classical.
It doesn’t have to be an instrument, though. It could be model building. Or woodworking. Or hell, even knitting, I don’t care. Make it a craft. Don’t just watch TV shows or play video games. Work with your hands.
Limit your music consumption.
Music can be good, but pretending that all music is equal is ludicrous. Start cutting out music that idolizes, promotes, or otherwise glorifies licentiousness, corruption, and crime. You don’t think it poisons your soul, I get it. That doesn’t make you any less wrong. And I’m not saying to substitute this for Christian rock or something equally absurd, nor even to completely quit popular music. But be aware of how much you’re listening to and start taking in silence and ambient sounds around you more often. Keeping music going nonstop—especially modern music (i.e. anything made after 1950)—just keeps you in a state of permanent distraction. That’s bad for the soul. Pay attention to what you consume; listening to music too often turns it into background noise, and there’s enough of that in regular life already.
Oh, and stop wearing ear phones when you’re walking around in public. It’s completely obnoxious.
Get off your computer.
This doesn’t mean “turn a blind eye to the Truth,” whatever you think the Truth entails (protip: it’s religious and it’s not online anyway). What it does mean is cut down on the information overload. The internet is great—some of the best works of literature and nonfiction are available for free if you look hard enough. But no one looks hard enough. Maybe you do (great!), but that doesn’t change the deluge of social media shitstorms that your Facebook, Twitter, what-have-you are pouring into your system.
I’d recommend quitting Facebook altogether, actually. I understand that may not be feasible, though. If you run a small business or you’re looking to write, manage some kind if internet thing, or just want to keep in touch with old friends, Facebook is a useful tool. But it sucks, and it’s probably demonic. Keep it arm’s length. Don’t browse your own Facebook feed for longer than thirty seconds at a time. Ignore all political posts. Post only things related to the reasons for which you use the platform—promoting your business, your writing, whatever.
Twitter is completely useless and a waste of time. Get rid of it.
Lay off some of the news sites and blogs, and especially internet forums. Get your life in order, then go back to digital life you had, but post sparingly. Give yourself an hour or so each day for this type of thing, but aim to eliminate it from your life altogether.
Be especially leery of people who want you to help them advocate some sort of social change, or who want you more invested in some sort of political sloganeering. It’s not always bad to support a social or political cause, but total immersion in such a world is often counterproductive to both your own well-being and, frequently, the well-being of the cause itself. Think before you sign up for that internet petition, reblog that inflammatory political post, or agree to show up to some protest or demonstration. Life was not meant to be lived through politics.
Reading, exercising, and working with your hands can help. Go for walks more often. Relax. Go outside. Wake up on time. Don’t waste your life.
This guide is intended to help you become not only more confident and balanced, but more sociable as well. No man is an island, despite modernity’s pressure to turn us into a loosely-organized archipelago. Good luck!