Atheism Is Bad for Your Health

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Atheism is bad for your health. How, you say? Well, it forces you to fill up your time with something other than religion. Religion is imperfect, but it gives a person some structure.

For another, atheism enables the flourishing of anxiety and depression. In a religious tradition you are supposed to put God first, never yourself. So the endless ruminating and dwelling in one’s own mind and about one’s own problems yields unnecessary self-destructive thoughts.

Then there is the absence of moral guidance. For years I argued with my conservative religious friends about who was more “moral.” I was a liberal and I was wrong. In my travels I learned that without a religion humans are deeply confused about right and wrong. Not the big things. All but the sociopaths get the big things, but we are confused about the smaller ways that we choose good and evil, right and wrong, leaving us vulnerable in the modern world.

Without religion, most of us are lost. Even, perhaps especially, if we don’t know it.

7 Tips to Beat Depression

tan and white short coat dog laying down in a brown wooden floor
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Most people suffer from depression at some point in their lives or know someone who has. Here are seven things a depressed person can do to make life better almost immediately:

  1. Establish a morning routine. Do you wake up at your girlfriend’s one morning, on your couch the next, and occasionally in your own bed?That needs to stop. A morning routine is critical to healthy functioning and when you start the day in disarray it usually only gets worse from there. So, wake up at roughly the same time every day, drink a glass of water, and do what you need to do to have a productive day.
  2. Exercise. If you hate it, find a way to make it fun. It doesn’t have to be running marathons. Try rowing or swimming or bicycling or playing hoops. Again, just do something. And if you have a REALLY hard time doing it, then do it FIRST THING IN THE MORNING!
  3. Build a spiritual practice. Buddhism, Catholicism, Quakerism, whatever. You might even be able to persuade me of the benefits of being a Wiccan. Regardless, though, JUST DO SOMETHING. Create a practice that helps you stay centered every day AND serves as a beginning or end point for every week. I know, I know, we all hate going to church. So add some fun to it like brunch or a giant latte or donuts. It’s important for many reasons. Foremost, it connects you with other humans. As a society we are facing an epidemic of loneliness. We need connection to other people. Try church, synagogue, meeting house, AA, whatever. Just something.
  4. Make time for gratitude. You know when you’re sitting in Chick-fil-a on a road trip and you look over and the family next to you is praying before eating their meal? Yes, it’s awkward and a little embarrassing, but if you were to take 30 seconds 3 times a day to REMIND YOURSELF HOW FORTUNATE YOU ARE it might improve your outlook.
  5. Figure out the patterns. We all have patterns of behavior that we repeat in our lives. Take some time to figure out which ones are holding you back. Are you overly focused on the superficial? Are you living up to your values? Do you keep dating the same types of people? It never hurts to work with a therapist, a coach, or even an app to help you figure things out.
  6. Make a change. Maybe it’s time to get a new job or end a relationship or get a pet or move to a new city. Sometimes a dramatic change can shake you out of a rut. Now, don’t do anything that will hurt you in the long run- run it by a few people first- but explore the possibility of changing your situation, even if only for a period of time. Another simple idea- plan a vacation. Having something fun to plan and look forward to is half the fun!
  7. Forgive yourself and others. Forgiving yourself is never easy and forgiving others isn’t always smart, but generally speaking, going down the path of forgiveness will only yield benefits for you. Explore readings and writing on forgiveness that might help you work through some of your thoughts and if nothing else works, try medicine.

7 Tips to Shut Down That Negative Inner Voice

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A negative inner voice can prevent you from reaching your potential. It can talk you out of starting a business or talking to an attractive woman or otherwise just make you miserable. Here are 7 things you can do to tame that negative self-talk:

  1. Learn to meditate. Meditation is a great way to pause and remind yourself that the nasty voice in your head is not helpful and not telling the truth.
  2. Build a spiritual practice. This is crucial for EVERY HUMAN. So many men are resistant to religion preferring to be ruled by “reason and logic.” This is total nonsense, of course. A spiritual practice grounded in gratitude IS the foundation to a healthy life.
  3. Forgive yourself. We all screw up. Some of us quite badly. But no one is beyond redemption. All of us, even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is doing the best we can with the information we have.
  4. Tell that voice, “Go f*ck yourself. Not helpful.” Bill Burr has a great rant about depression. In short, he argues that depression is something you have to keep at bay with anger.
  5. Try to identify it or the source of it. Give it a name. Sometimes it’s a parent. Or a mean authority figure. Try to figure out whose behavior it is modeling. This may help you realize how mean and nasty you are to yourself at times.
  6. Think about the advice you might offer a friend in your shoes. Write it down and read it back to yourself. Would you berate and abuse that friend and tell him what a worthless person he is? No!
  7. Distract yourself with music or a podcast or another mood changer. Sometimes you need to shake things up and change your mood. Music, a podcast, or an audiobook can all help to focus your attention away from that hateful voice.

5 Things to Do When You Feel Stuck in Life

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From time to time each of us gets bogged down in negative thinking. It’s inevitable. We may be sick of our job or in a dying or stagnant relationship and uncertain about the future. Here are 5 things to do when you’re feeling stuck:

1) Go on a retreat. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia used to advise harried people to go on a retreat annually to make time to reflect and step out of the rat race.

2) Travel. It never hurts to get a change of scenery for at least a few days to get you out of a negative pattern of thinking.

3) Talk to a therapist or a life coach. Men tend to be hesitant to do this. It is expensive and it can feel like a waste of time, but it’s important to check in with a professional from time to time.

4) Take some tests. Aptitude tests and personality tests can help you figure out what is holding you back. A few that I’ve benefited from over the years are:

Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation-
http://jocrf.org/
Jordan Peterson’s Self-Authoring Suite-
https://selfauthoring.com/
The Enneagram Institute-
https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
Myers-Briggs-
https://www.myersbriggs.org/

5) Try to remember what truly motivates you. I always come back to this. The things that interest you and motivate you are often consistent over time. If they’re not, you may be depressed (see above).

5 Reasons You Should NOT Telework

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Telework sounds like a lovely idea. It’s not! It’s just another way the Cultural Marxists are undermining norms in the western world. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that, but here are #5Reasons I suggest that you NOT telework if you have an office to go into or if you are debating about whether to rent one of those co-working spaces:

  1. Screws up your daily routine. Switching up your routine is great from time to time, but when you’re going into the office on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays it really messes up how you prepare for each day.
  2. Destroys the workplace esprit de corps. My office is now a ghost town every day except for Wednesdays. It’s a shame. It used to be a fun place to work.
  3. If you struggle with self-control, working from home can very easily worsen some already-bad tendencies like drinking during the day, smoking weed, and gambling online.
  4. Destroys the “specialness” of the weekend. If every day is kind of like Friday or Saturday, how do you really know the difference. This is also true for people who work unusual schedules. Someone’s got to do it, but there is a wisdom in the routine of Monday through Friday followed by the weekend.
  5. Overall, just undermines the discipline that humans need to flourish. With 1 day off out every 7, including a day filled with family activities, a person can recharge to be productive once again. Spend 1 day per week at home, maybe 2, but not 5 or 6. We need balance, but not that much work-life balance.

In fact, a much better way to telework is to do a few extra bits of work from your home office occasionally, like when you need to “work late” or take care of a sick kid. Not for full days and definitely not every day if you can avoid it.

5 Reasons You Should Get a Dog

My recently-adopted dog, Harper.

Dogs require a lot of work. You have to take them for walks daily, usually 3 times at a minimum (this post is primarily for urban dogs). They’ve got to be fed 1-2 times daily, groomed occasionally, trained if they act out. They can be a huge pain. Make sure you are up for it, but in most cases adding a dog to your life is a win-win for everyone. Below are 5 reasons you should get yourself a dog :

  1. You’ll never experience such unconditional love from anyone else. Your spouse might visit you if you went to prison but you can be sure your dog would.
  2. Humans, especially men, need a safe, comfortable outlet for showing affection for others. It’s not always easy to show affection when you’re a man. We all know this. It doesn’t turn us into incels or serial killers, it’s just more complicated than sobbing at a moment’s notice.
  3. Having a dog adds structure and discipline to your life. Discipline is the key to success in the future. 
  4. It’s the BEST protection for a home. I live in the city in a good, but formerly somewhat crappy neighborhood and I leave my doors unlocked all the time. Even at night.
  5. Connects you with neighbors. It builds community, gives you something to talk about with your neighbors and fellow dog owners, and helps you truly get to know your neighborhood. I remember living in downtown DC in my early 30s and not knowing ANY of my neighbors, until I got a dog. Suddenly everyone became so much friendlier.

There are all kinds of benefits. Go for it!

7 Tips to Shut Down That Negative Inner Voice

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

A negative inner voice can prevent you from reaching your potential. It can talk you out of starting a business or talking to an attractive woman or otherwise just make you miserable. Here are 5 things you can do to tame that negative self-talk:

  1. Learn to meditate. Meditation is a great way to pause and remind yourself that the nasty voice in your head is not helpful and not telling the truth.
  2. Build a spiritual practice. This is crucial for EVERY HUMAN. So many men are resistant to religion preferring to be ruled by “reason and logic.” This is total nonsense, of course. A spiritual practice grounded in gratitude IS the foundation to a healthy life.
  3. Forgive yourself. We all screw up. Some of us quite badly. But no one is beyond redemption. All of us, even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is doing the best we can with the information we have.
  4. Tell that voice, “Go f*ck yourself. Not helpful.” Bill Burr has a great rant about depression. In short, he argues that depression is something you have to keep at bay with anger.
  5. Try to identify it or the source of it. Give it a name. Sometimes it’s a parent. Or a mean authority figure. Try to figure out whose behavior it is modeling. This may help you realize how mean and nasty you are to yourself at times.
  6. Think about the advice you might offer a friend in your shoes. Write it down and read it back to yourself. Would you berate and abuse that friend and tell him what a worthless person he is? No!
  7. Distract yourself with music or a podcast or another mood changer. Sometimes you need to shake things up and change your mood. Music, a podcast, or an audiobook can all help to focus your attention away from that hateful voice.