- He was born and spent his early years in London, England – His father was American and his mother Canadian, giving the guy 3 nationalities but he was born and spent a large part of his childhood in London. He left for America at age 4 but returned to England aged 9. He attended the American School in London back in those days.
- He started drinking at the age of 2 and first got properly wasted at the mighty old age of 4! – This info comes from Steve-O’s sister who he seems to have a great relationship with to the present day. Evidence of this pre-teen drunkenness is backed up by the family photo albums.
- He attended clown college and afterwards found work at the circus as a day job before finding fame on Jackass – Around 1997 he attended and graduated from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. His sister recommended it to him on account of it being the one place not charging tuition fees. He wasn’t immediately chosen as a clown, he went off and found performance work on a cruise ship before then taking up a position in the circus as a ‘day job’ whilst he continued to film his crazy stunts in his own time. It was during this time that he learnt to perfect his unique tricks that he still uses in his stand up shows today. He was athletic and also a decent skateboarder. There was hard work, thought and a fair degree of talent behind the pre-jackass Steve-O madness.
- He had to be sectioned after running in to trouble with his hefty alcohol and drug problem – Knoxville and co feared for his life after Steve-O sent some alarming emails at a low point. They held an intervention for him and for a short while he was placed on psychiatric hold where he encountered a guy brake dancing in his own shit in the hallway on his ward..oh boy.
- He somehow now looks younger than he did 20 years ago with a nice new set of teeth. He has recently appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience and states that he is now clean and sober and looks to be loving life. He looks great for his age and keeps in shape with his ongoing stand up shows. All in all he seems to be a good advert to show the important benefits of doing what you want to do with your life in your own way.
Well, I’m back from my blog hiatus, and I’m back with a much more positive mindset. Although the Royal Navy wouldn’t have me (Past ACL Reconstruction) I’ve had some much more important work and life experiences since. I may not have all aspects of my life organised. I’m missing some important relationships and work currently feels dis-organised and unstructured, but the one aspect I realise I have full control over is my own fitness, health and well-being.
I’m getting closer to getting my diet on point and I’m combining this with training and learning a lot. I have the occasional blip and still get smashed from time to time and seem to lose days from my life, but in the main these days are now much less common. Often I worry about my knee and to a lesser degree my lower back (if I’ve been really active throughout the day). I am getting up there in age for the young mans’ competitive combat in mma and I’ve been having aches and pains. This is where my visualization, belief and spirituality come in to play and will continue to do so.
I progressed from only BJJ to MMA training after moving house and to a gym just down the street. Right on cue a local yoga class has also just started up at the gym and I’m going to make myself a regular there. I was due to have an mma bout at FightStar Interclub to test start a possible competitive mma journey. This didn’t materialize due to ongoing issues with arthritus in my right knee that I’ve been trying to ignore in the build up to my fight. Reality reared it’s head at the last however and I had to pull out. Maybe in the future if treatments improve I can get full confidence in my knee again and give it another go. For now however, especially with it being an ongoing struggle to access any healthcare, it’s not safe. I will also see how the grappling goes. I’ve since sparked up some old hobbies and my gym visits for now are way less frequent. It’s nice to have met some great guys down there too.
- Work when you want to/are ready to – Unless you’re extremely lucky you won’t have the benefit of being able to take it easy, but the flip side of working for yourself means you can clock on and off when you are ready and in the right frame of mind to work. You will more than likely end up working more hours than a regular job but you won’t mind because you’ll be pursuing something that actually interests you and something you really care about. Taking charge of your own working hours take discipline but that effort will lead to..
- Greater Rewards – You’re the one putting in all the hard graft, maybe alone, but that results in the potential to make the big bucks. In this way you truly are being rewarded for all your hard work, which may well be going unnoticed at a faceless company.
- You can put real passion in to your work instead of fobbing your customers off – I know from past personal experience working for large companies/conglomerates, especially in customer service roles, that the most important thing is to get the customer off the phone or out the door etc as soon as possible. It’s just a numbers game for these companies and they are obviously not truly interested in customer satisfaction anymore, they would much rather meet a quota. What I truly hate about these big business practices is that it will always be the genuine guys on the front line (The minimum wage workers in the stores and factories just trying to make a living) that will get all the shit and the flack from the unhappy customers when it is generally the fat cats at the top creating the problems. This unfortunately seems to be a fact of modern society for many large companies now and is the reason I will always value and respect small business over big business any day.
- You are in control of your own destiny – How many times have you heard the story of the hard working college/university graduate who followed the institutionalized path to the letter and become a company career man climbing the ladder to ‘success’ only to be left high and dry when that company faces problems or dissolves altogether. True, this could well happen working for yourself but in this case it will be down to you, and you alone.
- You don’t have to suck up to ‘the man’ – Let’s face it, working under idiots can be really frustrating and tbh many people in positions of power are just that. They don’t want any constructive criticism and they will under no circumstances accept that they may be wrong about something. Some just want to abuse the position and assert their power over others. Working for yourself you will never have to face this problem.
Of course self-employment comes with it’s own risks, you will never have that short term safety net and you will never have what we class as a ‘holiday’. This is the reason that it is so important that you enjoy what you are doing. The world of work is changing however. We live in a world of short term employment and zero hour contracts, so even if your goal is not to be long term self employed but to re-gain a foothold in a new company. You may as well still branch out in your own time, prove that you are willing to teach yourself new skills, keep active and produce a portfolio of work. Nothing is wasted.
I find that there is many benefits of training in combat sports instead of going to a regular gym. Not only do you get fit and feel great you get many added benefits.
- It’s not boring – You have a clear focus and you find that the time flies at the same time that you are getting a total body workout, both for the muscles and the heart and lungs. This is opposed to the gym where you are just moving on the spot and clock watching or moving from machine to boring machine focusing on each specific muscle group. I’ve done way too much of this in the past, although in fairness to myself I always used football or other sports as a more effective and enjoyable way to workout due to the focus and distraction elements described above. You are not aware that you are really having a workout because you are in the moment and focusing on competition.
- It trains the mind as well as the body – Instead of just running on the spot or sitting there like a vegetable doing a bicep curl you are instead learning techniques requiring precise coordination. You are also learning strategy when competing against an opponent, you are taking in to account both your own and your opponents strengths and weaknesses in order to be successful. Notably this is particularly important with Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I know if I had the chance to realise my perfect place to train it would be a large open mat area with a few bags, not somewhere overloaded with heavy gym machinery clutter.
- Competition – Generally any good martial arts instructor will encourage their students to compete. By doing this you will be given the incentive, motivation and drive to prepare to succeed. It can give you that drive to get fit, keep fit and get fitter and be successful in competition.
- Camaraderie – Most MMA clubs have great camaraderie between members and it’s possible to make friendships whilst training, sparring or competing. When you push both yourself and others to the limit you gain a great deal of respect for team mates and opponents and also yourself.
- It gives you confidence in other areas of your life.
- You learn Self-defense – As an added bonus you’ll learn how to defend yourself out on the street as an added extra to keeping fit and healthy.
I’m passionate about alternative medicines and the most healthy ways of relaxing and I am happy to support weed in the fight against booze as the most healthy choice as a relaxing past-time. Despite this, I do only have a drink to relax, not that I’m a hypocrite but the reason being, I live in the UK where cannabis in all it’s forms is still very much illegal and still has that negative stigma attached to it. I am condemned to drink to relax or socialize, as this is the only sociably acceptable thing to do. Further to this, and more importantly, I’m in the process of joining The Royal Navy Reserves and whilst I may not 100% agree with their policy on drugs I do respect it. I respect it because it is true that cannabis can be dangerous for the uninformed or those who lack control. It is complicated, the thing that can relax and ease anxiety can also cause it for example.
I firmly support Joe Rogan on the subject of cannabis. Pretty much anything in life that is taken to an excess or is ‘abused’ can be bad for you. If all you do is smoke weed all day then yeah.. you are not going to be a healthy and well rounded person, exactly the same as if all you did all day was exercise. If it is done in moderation however and is done for the right reasons I don’t see an issue with either Cannabis or alcohol. The only reason I would be more inclined to side with Cannabis over alcohol is that I believe that it is actually healthier (If researched beforehand) for a couple of reasons.
Alcohol dehydrates the body. Even if you do the most efficient thing of only drinking spirits straight, you will not only be poisoning and dehydrating your body but you will be taking on board calories that will turn you in to a fat ass. Furthermore alcohol literally poisons the muscles, the negative affects which can take weeks to clear and you get back to full optimization, apparently getting wasted even interferes with your spinal fluid! Finally I feel the effect the drug actually induces (and yes alcohol is a drug like any other) is another important factor. Alcohol, although it initially lowers inhibitions, is a depressant and can easily exasperate feelings of anger, as history and certain of our own personal experiences show. Cannabis on the other hand, aside from having many medicinal benefits, generally produces a much more laid back, mellow or relaxed experience if taking an Indica strain.
The only real danger with cannabis is either being unprepared and not of having not done your research beforehand or abusing it to excess. There are two very separate and distinct types of cannabis, we have Sativas and Indicas which in a basic sense are the Yin and Yang of weed. They tend to medicate in the very opposite way to one another. I’m not preaching, as I’m certainly one to over indulge from time to time and I did so to a great extent in the past, not knowing then what I do now, but I’m happy to follow this blueprint for my future years to come in regards to natural medicine.
I recently started reminiscing back on catching glimpses of The Ultimate Warrior and the British Bulldog as a youth and how excited it made me at the time. Living in England I missed a great deal of the ‘pro’ wrestling action because of unfriendly time-zones but my dad tried to keep me updated as much as he could with news and highlights. He bought us the WWF Wrestlemania game for the Atari ST which I have only very recently sold on and I have great memories of playing that game back in the day. As I grew up and moved on to the Playstation I continued to love wrestling games. I had WWF Attitude and Smackdown on the Playstation 1 and I continued to occasionally catch highlights of the current pro wrestling story-lines as a guilty pleasure. I really do think the themes, gimmicks, the music and branding of pro wrestling all combine so well and translate to make hugely entertaining video games.
Because I missed a great deal of the story-lines as a child I’m in the process of binge watching this retro bygone age of classic wrestling in my free time, ie The Hogan era. I’m looking back on some of the awesome entrances and gimmicks which were most often far better than the actual wrestling itself, such as The Legion of Doom’s theme song which was so simple yet so powerful and would blow the roofs off stadiums. Stuff like that shows the true power of punk when combined with the personalities and appearance of Hawk and Animal. A good example of this is the Legion of Doom’s 1992 Summerslam entrance which can be easily found here on YouTube. Music and pro wrestling just go together so well..even Ozzy Osbourne recognized this and made guest appearances in the WWE a couple of times. Ronda Rousey with her love of ‘rowdy’ name provider Rody Piper has also been known to show up in the WWE.
Pro Wrestling of this classic time period is still very much watchable as an adult simply for the pure comedy value and it surely inspires and entertains young kids who are still willing to suspend their disbelief. These factors mean pro wrestling should be commended for what it is, and that is simply unadulterated entertainment in it’s purest and simplest form. The dark side to pro wrestling back then however was the alarming abuse of steroids that took place. The Ultimate Warrior and The British Bulldog, aka Davey Boy Smith where both famously ousted from the WWF due to steroid issues before later returning..drug addictions took the lives of many famous wrestlers within this time period.
The WWF became the WWE and things are well and truly PG and Politically Correct now (don’t dare call one of the female wrestlers a diva!) and in my mind can’t compare to the classic shows of yesteryear. It’s also the case now that there is simply too much of it. It maybe worth a watch for a laugh now and again but for me nothing can quite compare to watching the LOD riding out to the ring with the music blaring and the sun setting over a packed Wembley stadium.
When I was younger I remember writing in my ongoing journal – of sorts – that I would always be alright in life as long as I kept fitness, music and comedy within my life, and I still stand by that statement to this very day. This is the reason why I think it is important to keep a place in your life for the things you loved growing up.
Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 and 2 were released in 1999 and 2000 respectively. These were exciting and inspiring times for me and many others in the same age range. I was playing at a time when I was coming to the end of my time in secondary school and I had the whole world ahead of me. We had new exciting new sports. games and technology and we were moving on to times of discovery and growth. I loved the combination of punk and rock with skating and I spent hour after hour on those two games which also helped me find the music that would go on to dominate my tastes in the years to come. The incorporation of the real life pros in the games was a big deal, I’d love spending time collecting all the tapes and completing all challenges to unlock each characters very own ‘movie’ segment – and this was in the days before YouTube too. The ‘movies’ were real life highlights from each characters’ careers and seeing these inspired me and some school friends to pick up a board and give it a go ourselves. This lead to some of the most satisfying experiences in my life trying out tricks on a friend’s estate whilst drinking and blasting out tunes from the garage.
Being English and looking back on skateboarding now I find myself inspired by Geoff Rowley. The guy found his passion and honed it on the mean streets of Liverpool before moving further a field to London, before then taking the huge leap to Southern California and total upheaval from such a raw early age, a real risk but also a real adventure. I’m not sure that I would have the balls or the conviction at such an early age but he took the plunge and made the move. He became a pro skater in the big ol USA and the legendary skateboarding parts ‘Sorry’,’Really Sorry’ and then ‘Extremely Sorry’ would follow along with his appearances in The Tony Hawks pro skater games. He took the risk, took full advantage and made it work. He also happened to be friends with the late, great Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead, as can be heard on Geoff’s ‘Extremely Sorry’.
I think I’d struggle with skateboarding now because of the knocks I would take, being around a stocky 13 stone I’m not sure that my build would allow it anymore, but I’m going to try the next best thing, surfing. I see this replacing cycling and mountain biking in my life in my quest for the healthiest possible mental and physical well-being. I can’t think of a better thing for mindfulness than surfing. Both skateboarding and surfing, having their similarities, and are great for both distraction from the continual thoughts of the mind and keeping you in the present moment. Visualization is another positive factor that can be utilized whilst away from the board. What can be better than removing the nagging, niggling useless anxious thoughts from the mind by replacing them with visualizing landing the perfect trick in your favourite spot? In much the same way I still have my interests from the past in combat sports and I can keep this alive with my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training and competition. I have my first BJJ competition lined up for the 26th of March this year and I’ll use this as an incentive to get in great physical shape. I hope to employ the same mindfulness techniques in the sport as I would with surfing although being in the moment in BJJ competition can be somewhat more intense. Visualizing whilst away from the mats is again a must, with BJJ being a mental chess game as well as a physical battle. The more technique run through the mind and the more outcomes visualized the better. The power of the mind should never be overlooked. BJJ also has crossover benefits with certain yoga styles such as yin yoga. I find the two fairly interchangeable and you’ll find that doing one will help out with the other.
So, the Syrian migrant/refugee crisis..where to start on this one. Well the first point every white Britain now has to clearly emphasis is that I am far from racist or against immigration. I do admit however that I am against mass uncontrolled immigration and that is precisely what is happening throughout Europe at present. Of course I have empathy for genuine refugees that require aid and I despise my own government which is partially responsible for the whole debacle in the first place. The main issue we have is that a majority of the ‘refugees’ that are arriving at the boarders are clearly not refugees at all, they are economic migrants looking for a better quality of life for themselves making a mockery of the plight of the genuine refugees from Syria. Most do not stop in the first safe country they arrive in and attempt to seek refugee, they instead move on to the next country and what they perceive as better. The vast majority are all young males of fighting age who have chosen to abandoned woman and children at home in order to seek a more comfortable life for themselves instead of staying and fighting for their homeland. The situation is the very opposite of what is historically supposed to happen in a refugee crisis as a result of war.
Another glaring issue is that a large proportion of the migrants are not actually from Syria but surrounding countries. Discarded documents have been found identifying nationalities but these are disposed of in hopes of a free pass that will more than likely be granted by the EU. They all appear well fed and dressed, there’s lots of beaming smiles and I’m sure many have a better smart phone than myself. All these factors are obviously clear to the EU government and in any of times past this situation clearly would not happen, it would be absurd to even think of. The mainstream media is also clearly only pedaling pro migrant propaganda unless it is forced to cover a story due to the pressures of social media, and the problems that we are seeing now that a lot of the migrants have began to ‘settle’, in Germany for example, could have easily been predicted with anyone with a functioning brain.
The question we now have to ask is why is this being forced upon us by our European government? It is not for the reason that governments are trying to push through mainstream media, that they perceive it as the only option to stop the supposed ‘suffering’ of all the migrants. That is simply not true. The vast majority of the people within Europe were never given a vote on what should happen and they blatantly ignore the voice of the people they are supposed to represent anyway. I believe the truth is that the vast majority of the politicians couldn’t care less about the suffering of the people both national and international, the only possible reason is to further an agenda. An agenda of power, greed, money and control. More migrants entering is good for big business – more people, more competition for work, cheaper labour etc, but even more importantly it gives further stability to the corrupt politicians currently in the seats of power who will have secured the future votes of the huge number of migrants whom they have welcomed with open arms and bent over backwards for, often at the expense of their own native populations. There is also the factor of globalized world government wanting to clear and take over the middle east and Syria via the ongoing de-stabilizing tactics and seize the oil reserves, the chaos and unrest that this whole situation brings could well fit in to the ‘big picture’.
This of course opens up the debate of the supposed New World Order (NWO) or even the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan. I am most definitely not a conspiracy theory guy, although I’ll admit like many I do find many conspiracy theories interesting, but this is the one situation that is so obviously out in the open and so blatantly against common sense that leads me to believe that in many aspects the rise of a NWO is actually a very true theory and is not really a conspiracy theory at all. One only needs to look at the workings of the European parliament, working as a dictatorship, removing power from individual countries and governed by individuals that have not even been elected to see the centralized powers clearly already forming in front of our eyes. The main problem is that most people are simply too distracted with the X-Factor or Kim Kardashian’s ass to look, or even care.
UFC fighter, life-long martial artist and punk and metal-core fan Dan Hardy is turning spiritual. The man that used to enter the Octagon to the sound of ‘England Belongs to Me’ by the legendary underground punk band OI! now practices yoga alongside his martial arts and has visited the depths of the peruvian jungle for Ayahuasca ceremonies. I knew nothing of the spiritual and mental benefits of Ayahuasca and other psychedelics (psyilosybin containing magic mushrooms for example) until I saw interviews with the outlaw opening up on his positive and constructive experiences with psychedelics. Being a big fan of both the UFC and the Outlaw in particular, and also positive physical and mental well-being, discovering this was a big deal for me.
Undertaking an Ayahuasca ceremony involves ingesting an ancient, indigenous brew containing psychedelic compounds perfected by the amazonian natives back in the day. The ceremony is led and directed by a shaman and involves each participant to introspect under the influence of the Ayahasca and with the absence of the human ego. As Dan Hardy himself puts it, he doesn’t do this stuff for fun, It’s a deeply introspective process where you take a long hard look at yourself without your own ego at work, it can be at times a deeply anxiety promoting experience (often including vomit and unexpected bowl movements) but that is all part of the process in itself. Dan uses Ayahuasca and psyilosybin in particular to step back away from his problems and to see the ‘whole picture’ clearly. He sees it as a feeling of ‘leveling up’ as in a video game and a discovery of a clear path to take until the monotony of modern life breaks the clarity and the medicine calls him again.
Further to this many people have reported using these types of natural psychedelics as alternative medicine to tackle there issues with anxiety and depression as the process of looking at ones life in this state allows them to put there life in to perspective and see things for what they really are. Reports of anxiety/depression sufferers who have tried this method state that they have a much clearer and calmer focus long after the experience and some even claim that they have been permanently cured by the experience.
Hearing of Dan and many other peoples healing and self-developing experiences with psychedelics encouraged me to search for and try psyilocybin myself. I live in an area that is abundant with liberty caps, basically the perfect climate for the growth of the perfect psyilosybin packed magic mushroom. Unfortunately we have had a fairly unproductive season this autumn and scouring with my untrained eye I wasn’t able to find very many of the kind I was looking for. I did manage to find a small amount which I took in a familiar and relaxed setting washed down with some fresh orange juice. If you are unfamiliar with psychedelics always research how to take them safely before consuming anything..and obviously always make sure you know 100% what you are taking! I didn’t take a huge amount so never experienced the feeling of detachment from ‘this reality’ into something otherworldly. I just experienced a very mellow and relaxed high with very mild visual hallucinations that were more intense with eyes closed. It was a perfect state for meditating and I did feel a deeper clarity and ‘warmness’ that made me feel very emotional.
Because of my extremely miniature haul of shrooms obtained, I decided that I would have a go at growing my own ‘Magic Truffles’ – the underground growing varient of the shrooms that affect us in much the same way as the shrooms in general. I got hold of some spores and cultivated them as appropriate. This process is ongoing and I hope to be able to use some home grown truffles to cultivate some actual mushrooms in the future with growing experience.
I would love to try an Ayahuasca ceremony but I don’t know of any taking place in England where I live. I would also love to travel to the source and head off to the South American jungle for a ceremony, the whole thing is really not too cheap however and there is the whole safety aspect to consider. It is a trip I most definitely want to make in the future though once I become more knowledgeable.
The Jam’s music is one of the main reasons that I am on the path I am on today. Throughout a lot of my teenage years they were the most important band in my life with ‘Away from the numbers’ being the seminal defining track. That track defines my outlook on life in a nutshell, wanting to be far away from the rat race, not conforming to rigid systems and social norms and generally shunning mainstream society. I never could follow the whole mod identity though, because surely to me that is conforming in itself? Regardless of that, even though they weren’t active at the time of my youth (Paul was well in to his solo career by then) they were easily my favourite and most influential band for a fair while. Most people much preferred the ‘trendy’ indie music of the time, but I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. The Jam’s music really defined a lot of what I felt at the time; all that energy and anger but with an outlook for change and productivity. I fit the mould perfectly to be a long time Jam fan and I always will be, regardless of moving on to more contemporary music tastes in general.
I began to move away from what Paul Weller was putting out musically over the years. I listened to the vast majority of his popular Style council tracks and a lot of his solo work too, but I think I was at the wrong age in my life to really relate to it and appreciate it to it’s full extent.
I have just very recently started looking him back up online and read a couple of articles about Weller the person instead of just focusing on the music. I find that Paul himself is often extremely angry and in many interviews I see him saying that most people don’t like him anyway. There are some stories of his prickly nature and him completely ruining the social vibe that I find really amusing. Such as being in the back seat of a car and shouting to the driver to “turn that shit off” only to be told that it was him on the radio singing ‘The Changingman’, or when Paulo Hewit finally snapped on him because he had spent all night moaning about how “crap” computers and the internet were. He also managed to silence everyone when out for drinks one day by glaring and demanding “Where’s my fucking change, Gary?” and starting a scene..even though Gary had not even paid and finished with the drinks order yet. It’s these types of stories that myself, and I’m sure others who are fairly highly strung with perfectionist or OCD type tendencies can find pretty hilarious because of the relatability. Even if you don’t say it you sure as hell think it!
I’m sure that, minus the ego, Mr Weller is a solid, decent hardworking guy and that there is much about him that is simply misunderstood. I do still find it hard to believe, from personal experience, how a nice person can take so much abuse, shit and anger for simply not being happy, or being an ‘individual’ and not a proper part of the group, so possibly this is something he’s experienced too.
I also never realised just how much the guy likes a drink! I love the story of him and his friend Stephen Cradock getting so smashed as young teens that they ended up laying flat out in the middle of the road roaring with laughter as the cars swerved around them. Must have been some night. A memorable video I came across was this drunk scene from 2008 with Paul and his missus. It’s just too funny!
Paul Weller made it from an extremely young age. He has made his money now so it’s really up to him what he wants to do. He does look as though his heavy lifestyle looks to have possibly taken a pretty heavy toll on him physically maybe. He has the means to support himself however and he can do whatever the hell he likes really..although it’s possible it might not be the greatest example for his kids. Long life the modfather!
I want to write this article to tie up my other articles about positive well being and there is a single hugely important point that I want to make. That point is, if you are looking upon your life in the right way you simply don’t need to worry, just get on with your life. Even if you feel absolutely terrible at this present moment in time the feelings are so unlikely to last. Over time the only way such thoughts and feelings can continue is by dwelling on the thoughts and negativity and by avoiding your passions and where you want to go in live. Fair enough you have commitments and you may have to work a job, or go to a school that you hate, but you don’t have to be there the whole time, let your mind take you to where you want to be.
Sure enough I still often experience periods of real anger thinking of the injustices of the past and it is not always possible to take your mind away. This can becomes a real issue when you have too much time on your hands, you work alone and you are not given the opportunities to get out there and move on even though you want to, and desperately try to. At these points every day feels like a week, a week a month and so on.. it is important to realise here that there is always another way or something else that you can be doing that day to improve yourself. In the incidences when I am really angry I just put on some Metallica or Offspring and work out like crazy. I always find this makes anger subside enough that I can concentrate on what I want to. Life isn’t fair and that is a fact, and that’s even though I do believe karma exists to a certain extent. When it is possible to look forward and get things done however, follow your goals. They will be both the ultimate distraction and your savior.
I purposefully only want to write a very limited number of articles on promoting positive mental health because I firmly believe that once you understand the problems – your mind set, and the solutions -CBT (changing the way you view things) and catharsis, then, personally for me, the best way to move forward is to move on and take your life where you want it to be going. Practically ignore the current feelings and emotions and do everything you can to move forward. This is the reason why I have wrote these articles about promoting positive mental health and published them on my personal website, to remind myself what to do continually and how I should look at things. Sure we know the concepts, but when life gets hectic and busy and when things get tough it is also very easy to forget how to look at things in the right way. Sure my advice will not be applicable or useful to many, because they have experienced different things. I can’t speak and advise on severe depression, bi-polar or debilitating phobias or chronic OCD issues, but I have experienced severe levels of high anxiety in the past, and this is how I coped and came through it.
Transforming your mindset may not be easy, but throw in some motivation and inspiration to go where you want to go and you will eventually make it though. I look around and I see plenty of people who experience mental health issues but they still have the problems I used to have. They are too analytical and they are dwelling on the issues too much. Instead of trying to understand what you are feeling, focus on improving yourself and getting what you want from life. I feel this may be one of the reasons that YouTube channels concerned with mental health, and hosted by people who have experienced very real issues, are often not hugely successful, because, yes people can relate, but it can also be muddled and depressing. Everyone experiences anxiety and depression differently, people are unlikely to have experienced exactly what you have, if you can, why not get on, be healthy and move on and up.
So there is something you want to achieve but maybe you are not yet fully confident in yourself. Well the good news is that you don’t have to be, as the now famous quote state –
“you dont have to see the whole staircase just take the first step.”
It always is, and always will be scary to take steps in to the unknown but this is how growth is achieved and eventually how winning is done.
“The first step will always be the hardest.”
Lets talk about a great weapon to use in our life battle for success. Visualization. The simple fact is the more you think about an upcoming situation and see it in a positive light with the outcome that you want, then there is more chance that you will get the very outcome that you are after!
This is in complete contrast to what the vast majority of people do and that is to worry. Worry is obviously a natural emotion that in modern times now is a mostly destructive emotion. At the very best it tends to be useless and only serves to make us less prepared for what we are actually worrying about. It is natural to do however, so it is yet another aspect of the mind that we really can work on in order to achieve stellar positive mental health. We want to identify our worry and negative self talk straight away and nip it in the bud. We can then instantly replace that with positive visualization. The concept of visualizing can be so powerful many individuals (for example Paul McKenna) have made hugely successful careers utilizing the concepts to help others.
The concept of visualization is exactly as it sounds and it is simply the process of picturing everything going right at an event before the situation takes places, it is basically therefore the exact opposite of worrying. It is also a useful aid in meditation although in that setting a peaceful scene is generally used to relax the mind and body. It can be used to prepare for practically any situation in anyone’s life regardless of the real importance or impact of an event. Common examples are, preparing for important public speeches, approaching a crush for a date and any and all areas of sports performance, sports scientists and advisers to practically any professional sports team or individual around the world know the huge importance that positive visualization can have on sporting performance.
Visualization really does work, but of course you need to be prepared for your event also. There would be no point picturing a perfect delivery of a keynote speech with everyone roaring with laughter at those painstakingly prepared one liners if you have failed to prepare your speech properly, or come up with any decent jokes beforehand. Visualizing can not work on it’s own without preparation.
You may not get the right outcome every time and it simply may not happen as you had pre-visualized, but the point is you tried your very best and therefore there are no regrets to be had. This is not an excuse to give up and say that positive visulization doesn’t work, it is simply an opportunity to learn from experience, realise that you gave yourself the best preparation possible and that things have a much better chance of going right next time!
I’m still at the very beginning of my journey with meditation but I constantly hear of the benefits it affords and I want to start making time for it in my life. I do see myself as spiritual..but certainly not as spiritual as many others, and in no way do I see meditation as anything remotely religious for myself. For me it is simply a method of clearing the mind in order to concentrate on what is important in life.
In the past if I’ve had a clouded mind I would always use distraction as the main tool to keep my mind occupied and on the task at hand. In certain instances this can be really beneficial and links in well with another of my articles about Using Anxiety To Get Things Done. This can be an extremely useful method that really works and turns worrying in to productive output. I’ve started looking more long term though and with my main life goal being happiness and peace of mind, I want to look in to more long term solutions for being continually calm and relaxed.
You don’t have to adopt any fancy position to meditate, you simply want to be comfortable and relaxed, so sitting in a chair can be just as good as a physics defying, mind mending yoga position. I do find although, that a stretching session prior to meditating gets the blood flowing and further relaxes the body. I find lying down on my back on a comfortable surface the best bet. You want to be as peaceful and relaxed as possible so attempting to block out the sounds of the day around you can be beneficial if you live in a noisy and busy area, I often use earplugs to help with this or even headphones with relaxing music or nature sounds.
The idea of meditation is then to clear your mind of all thoughts and worries. For beginners to do this, holding a single point of concentration seems practically a must. It is a process that you adjust to over time but at first you must make a conscious effort to stop thinking so much. Concentrate on your breathing and picture a simple relaxing scene in your mind. My method is to picture the ocean and to tie my deep breathing in with the natural rhythm of the tide.
To start with it really does take a large commitment to meditate with any regularity, you have to set aside specific time to avoid all the distractions in life. The next stage is then getting better at it. I initially found it hard to lay long enough and clear my mind before getting bored and agitated and wondering off both in mind and body! It is true though that the process does get easier over time and with more practice. The effectiveness of mediation at achieving it’s goal of making us calm and focused is backed up by scientific study, so I will do more than just give it a chance. I’m sure people aren’t just making it up that the practice has transformed their lives or helped their mood and levels of focus to no end. I will keep at it. At many times I do still struggle to concentrate on the task but I seem to be getting better at the actual process of mediation. I may provide updates on my level of success as I progress.
Another point to note is that there is no set ‘right’ way to meditate and you can tailor your own practice to what benefits you the most. I have experience with the ‘Headspace’ meditation app brought to market by Andy Puddicombe and his business partner. Headspace is great to look at and It utilities modern bite size meditation sessions based primarily on mindfulness but also makes use of sessions based around visualization, reflection and awareness. So after learning the very basics -focusing on breathing and moving away from thoughts and worry- you can go ahead and mix it up!
As I described in Panic Attack!! I know from my own past experiences just how bad high anxiety can be, and just how crippling and debilitating it can be to someone’s life. My past has lead me to have a positive outlook on just about anything though and I’d like to point out that you can use anxiety to get things done! I know everyone is different on the spectrum, a lot of people may experience much more depression than anxiety but always try and look for the best in any situation.
If you have gone through periods of low motivation or self-esteem, getting a high jolt of anxiety can lead you to getting things out of the way that you have been putting off. I’ve used this technique before in the past and even though you temporarily feel terrible and unrested it always helps me, knowing that I am being productive and getting stuff done. High anxiety often means that you are not thinking 100% clearly and your thoughts may be clouded, because of this it is the ideal time to do menial house chores or physical stuff that you will find much easier with all that overflowing energy. Try do something that you have been procrastinating over because you would generally find it boring and uninteresting but what just needs doing. This kind of stuff should hopefully provide just the right amount of mind and body stimulation to get those high anxiety levels to subside whilst also getting your chores done.
A further side effect of high anxiety states is the increased willingness to take risks. With all that adrenaline flowing through the body, natural inhibitions are not felt the same as they would be in a relaxed mindset. This can also very well be a huge positive as this can be used as fuel to pull yourself out of your comfort zone and to take the next steps to where you want to go in life no matter how drained you might presently feel. Just remember to think it through the best you can first. Don’t engage in any necessary non-productive risky behaviour. It could well be the perfect time to make that move in to the unknown that you have been putting off because of fear, and it could well be the perfect distraction/cure that you have been looking for!
Another point to make is that, when anxious, people can start catastrophic thinking. You can start to assume that the worst will always happen constantly in all situations..Again just remember this is only temporary. The world in general gets by and operates more efficiently than you might be thinking. A great example of this is sending and receiving mail through the post. I always wonder how it manages to get to me all the time, through the sear volume of packages that are sent each day throughout the world. How come it never gets lost or stolen? But apart from the very rare occasion when the mail does go missing, this system continues to run like clockwork every day of our lives..and no this is not an advertisement for the postal service.
The largest struggle we ever face will always be in our minds. This point is driven home in the motivational video by RedFrost Motivation, take a look here. How we view things in life is way way more important than most people realise, and if we want to be genuinely happy and fulfilled in life we really need to be taking a lot more notice of this.
The simple fact of our thoughts determining our true happines in life is the reason that CBT really can be such a powerful tool. CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is the most common method of treatment for the vast majority of people who have ever experienced a mental health issue. It can also easily be of use to every single person on the planet however. It really is a very simple concept and there is nothing at all fancy about it and neither is it difficult to understand. It is simply the process of taking each situation in life that causes us pain/anger/anxiety etc, breaking it down and looking at that situation in a different way so that we no longer feel the negative response from the thought, or even better, we see positives from our past negative situations.
The concept can be applied to basically anything that we have experienced in life and to ensure we get the good thoughts embedded in to our sub-conscious it is best to create a list of all the significant negative experiences we have had, and after each, write out the accompanying positive outcome we can see from each situation.
Some examples could be –
- Failing a hugley important exam – This could mean that you now can’t pursue the avenue that you wanted to go down career-wise, but doesn’t it also open up other opportunities. Maybe you were on the wrong path in the first place and were only trying to please someone else by trying to get a high paying career. You can now re-evaluate look for other alternative avenues and go again.
- Your partner cheating on you after being in a relationship for years – Sure it may feel terrible to start with, but it’s better that you’ve found out and can now move on and live the rest of your life doing what you want to do, going your own way, instead of unknowingly being stuck in a relationship with a liar and a cheat.
- A loved family member passing away – Yes it means we can no longer physically go to that person for comfort or support anymore but maybe they were ill and suffering and now they don’t have to be in pain anymore. If you are in a quandary and at a point when you would normally go to that person for advice and guidance you can just ask yourself ‘what would they say?’ and use your past experiences of the person’s personality to find the answer. Think of all the good times that you shared together in the past also and be thankful that you had that time, which is much better than nothing right?
I’ve been following Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller ever since his time coaching on TUF 14 opposite Michael Bisping. He’s gone from being idolized by many as the host, and sometime competitor, of bully beatdown to being drugged up and appearing somewhat mentally unstable in his most recent interview -or smear campaign as some would say- conducted for Real Sports by HBO. In between then he has been on what appears to be a straight downhill spiral that has included numerous run ins with the law, the naked church bust, the notorious incident of live tweeting his stand off with police and SWAT in OC and most worryingly the domestic abuse allegations.
I personally don’t feel that Jason is a bad guy at all but he does appear to have quite a large ego which I think might be one of the largest issues stopping him getting on with his life. It also became clear in his Central Park interview with Arial Helwani that the guy often has problems being fully honest when he is asked difficult questions. At times I do find it hard to root for him because of such things. He also appears to have had a great life so far and has had more opportunities and experiences than many of us, but once he has come across difficulties he seems as yet unwilling to help himself. It’s possible although, that like myself, he may seemingly be angry due to the many injustices that exist in life. He might need to change the way he views his past. He may not be 100% innocent in his past but I imagine that he is very rarely the instigator of trouble. I can ensure people that you can easily end up at the bottom by simply trying to do the right thing.
I can relate to the downhill spiral as I’ve been on a version myself, although a much less publicized version of course. It’s surprising how slides like that can begin and continue when you either don’t have people looking out for you or you have the wrong people looking out for you, and situations like that do tend to get way worse with too much drink and drugs.
I really would find his contiuned media stuff funny if I genuinely did believe he was carrying on with the ultimate rib from the ‘Lucky Patrick’ interview with Aerial Helwani. He really is a very entertaining guy, even when going completely off the deep end! But though there maybe some of the showman Mayhem vying for another show or some big payday of some kind, I feel that with his behavior now I think that we have gone beyond merely ‘just trying to fool the world’ to some deeper issues.
Unlike many though, I doubt that he has any serious mental issues. This is the general accusation now leveled against him, with people simply writing him off as crazy. Maybe he just drinks too much and takes god knows what and his current lifestyle allows all this. If you are not in a good place, having too much time on your hands can be the very worst thing. I think he needs to clean up his act, get away from his past and move on. That of course can be easier said than done. I in no way condone domestic abuse and Jason’s case is still pending. He really doesn’t strike me as the type of character who enjoys hitting woman and his accuser has a much less than perfect track record herself. I do wish him well for the future and all the best.
When I was young I wanted to be a boxer. I (then as now) loved fitness and not even really knowing why I just became fascinated with boxing in particular. I was a painfully shy kid though, and although no one explicably stopped me fully pursuing it, I can remember my dad saying that I didn’t have the right mentality for boxing and it was carried through by everyone in the house. What little boxing I did I showed promise. I could and was willing to take the hits too. My main concern was my skinny wrists and I convinced myself that this would be my downfall. I never even considered back then that I would be using wraps. I’m defiantly one to think things through before taking action and another concern that came to mind was also the possible prevalence of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) I perceived within combat sports. Just looking at the UFC as an example now, that concern has been proven to be well founded with loads of well known fighters falling foul of the new USADA testing procedures, testing positive and dropping like flies. Micheal Bisping is the current spokesman and figurehead for ‘clean’ sport within the Middleweight division after suffering multiple high profile losses to PED and TRT users in the past.
As time moved on I ended up loving other things instead. I always loved gaming as a kid, largely as a result of the music involved, but I ended up getting in to music and guitar in a big way, lately however I have swung back to martial arts and combat sports. I’m an extremely positive person and I know that at no matter what age you are in life you can change your ways. It sometimes can be as simple as just getting up one day and going for what you want because you have changed your mindset for the better. Professional sports is probably one of the very few things that this doesn’t apply to though with it obviously being very age dependent. I can’t still follow that road because starting with the fitness of youth surely does make a fighting carer.
I’ve not let set backs of the past stop me though and I still find time to purse the things I grew to love, whether that now be involving music or sport and fitness. Maybe I don’t have one overriding passion anymore but I still work on each area of my life and get a little better each day. I don’t have a lot of other commitments so I can continue to do this. People do generally say that it is better, and possibly much healthier, to be a well balanced person. Maybe one day my one true path will emerge however :).
So I’d just like to make it extra clear.. If you really want to make a success of yourself and go for something, please stick to your convictions 100%. If you feel that strongly about something, never let anyone influence your thoughts or talk you out of what you want to do. I personally still feel that I can have no regrets. I have always been myself, I have always tried in the past and will always try in the future. The way I look at things is, if I was strong enough back then to go for something then I would have done it. This can’t be a regret, it’s simply realizing that I needed more time to become mentally stronger. I hope you feel the same.
I re-bought Final Fantasy VII on Steam a while back and spent a a bit of time re-playing. I can’t think of any other game that would bring me back to my school days quite like Final Fantasy VII and it did the trick. Just like with music, we know that games (especially the ones that took up all your time) take you back in time; to the people you were with, the places you went, the music and the memories. It was often the main talking point between my friends and myself at school once it was released in England and we could get our hands on it. I remember my friends from back then and it’s interesting to see what they are up to now and how also, although we may have not realized it at the time, how we have grown in to fairly similar people. My very best friend from back then moved away mid-way through secondary school due to his dad’s career, we made an effort to stay in contact but distant can easily move people apart and he seems to have pretty much disappeared off the face of the planet. Even worse, the guy had a common name so it wasn’t even possible to internet stalk the guy lol.
Another very good friend from back then came from a musical family and after finishing at university has gone on to form his own successful folk duo Gilmore&Roberts. Fair play to the guy, they’re really good and tour really often. They are definitely worth checking out online or worth a visit at a show. I have a friend, that I used to hang around with at college, who is now a regular linesman in the Premier League. I turned the TV on one night to find a European game involving Real Madrid. The first time the flag was raised I get a close up of my old friend from college there! I can remember seeing the stress on the poor guy’s face after making a controversial call at a packed Emirates stadium in a crucial game with the crowd roaring at him. He literally looked as if he had stopped breathing. You need a real thick skin for that job!
I have one friend that started from scratch and runs his own successful coaching business for kids in the community and another happily set for life with his military career. The vast majority of my friends seem to be happily settled now. The point I’m trying to make I guess is, that even when times are rough you can always take inspiration from your old friends. Even if they are not around anymore and you never see them, it doesn’t really matter, people are busy and have their own lives to lead. It doesn’t have to stop there of course, we should take inspiration from anyone we admire. It just helps a little more when they were the people you grew up with and you came from a place were you were all equals. You can easily use it as drive and motivation to re-find yourself if you get lost.
I hear now that the Final Fantasy VII re-make is all confirmed and finalized. I’m sure playing that will take many people back in time too. For me and others though it can be nice to look upon it as also a new beginning. It’s time to get my head down and get on with things.