Mental health and resilience is one of the lesser-spoken-about topics of collapse, but one that is so important as the world around us continually changes at an accelerated pace. In this episode, we check in on eachother's mental health and Kellan gives some specific examples and ideas for building mental resiliency.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/collapsepod)
Episode 52 - Mental Resilience during Collapse
Kory: [00:00:00] so Kellan it's been awhile since I think we last kind of talked about this and checked in, but I'm curious, uh, how is, how's the mental health going both from a collapse perspective and just a life perspective, I guess.
Kellan: [00:00:26] Thanks for asking. Honestly, I feel like it's going well, you know, life in general is hectic and chaotic and crazy and it's stressful. And I think that's the case for most people. And I've got my personal challenges, but I'm fortunate to not have anything really catastrophic happening in my personal life right now. I'm not in a state of crisis and I'm grateful for that.
So I guess I can say I've got it pretty good. I shouldn't have anything really to complain about. When it comes to collapse. I feel like my mindset has shifted after the initial paradigm shift. You know, I feel like when something about the way that you view the world changes. It's almost like when you move into a new house or an apartment, and I know, Kory, you've bounced around to several different places and I've lived in several different places. And you know, those first couple of nights, when you wake up in the middle of the night and you have this weird sensation, like you're trying to orient where you are.
And it's a moment of a little bit of confusion, maybe a little bit of panic, even if you don't feel unsafe, it's just hard for your mind to get used to what's new. And I kind of think that's the case with my collapse awareness. When you first introduced me to it, I was skeptical. And then as time went on, I became more convinced.
And it was around that time that it had this pretty strong impact on, you know, how grounded I felt. I felt like everything was kind of up in the air and crazy. And I was almost obsessing over the fact that I was accepting this new reality, but now I'm to a point where I accept it and I'm used to it and I'm okay with it. I just kind of think that's the way things are, but I've also reached this point where I'm really eager to step beyond just awareness and actually turn that into some form of action and to do something about everything that I'm learning.
I want to continue to learn more. And I think that's really important, but if I'm always perpetually learning more about all of this and I never do anything about it, to me, that feels kind of pointless. So I've mentioned to you, you know, that I'm starting to do things on a personal level to make sure me and my family are going to be in a better spot as things get worse. I'm trying to save a little bit of money as I can. I'm trying to have a little bit of water and food storage.
I'm trying to do some things to become more emotionally and mentally resilient. Yeah. And I hope to get to the point where I can impact more people around me and begin to build more of a resilient community like we've talked about.
And I don't know that it's worth mentioning here, but you know, you and I, Kory, we have these conversations around this bigger dream. We hope someday to be able to create a framework for people around the world globally, to have a way to build resilient communities and a network that they can rely on.
So that gives me a lot of purpose, a lot of motivation. Anyways, that's probably way more than what you were hoping for when you asked the question, but that hopefully it helps you understand where my mental state is at.
Kory: [00:03:17] Yeah. I'm glad you say all that. Um, part of what you said stood out to me, and it was actually something that I had kind of jotted down here to talk about at some point during this episode. And that was around the paradigm shift that comes with collapse. And sort of those emotions that you described, I think are common when someone has a paradigm shift of any kind. You know, a child who grows up believing in Santa Claus and then finds out the Santa Claus is not real that. Disillusionment and sort of shift on the way that you view the world and the people that you grew up trusting telling you these things.
And that might be a silly example, but it shakes your ground a little bit. Right? And I'm sure a lot of people, a lot of people listening to this have probably believed something their entire lives and grown up to find out that it wasn't real or that it was different than the way they believed and the sort of life altering, you know, change in perspective that comes with that, I think a lot of the time does cause the feelings that you described and we'll talk about that again I think a little bit later in the episode.
For me, you know, I had in the last episode that we did on coping had kind of described how this topic doesn't really affect me mentally. And, you know, I think that's shifted a little bit recently. I've noticed I don't, I don't think that I'm depressed, but I have had an increase in anxiety to the point where I'm just much more occupied in my thoughts.
I might be more short in my communication. My patience is shorter and you know, I've had some moments where I've had to step away and gather myself because I can feel my chest tightening. I can feel that anxiety creeping in and I've been trying to sort of figure out what's causing that because I, I think about the future and I think about collapse and I'm realizing that's not what's causing it. This fear of the future and what we're headed towards, it's still doesn't cause me that fear or that anxiety.
Instead, I I've realized that what it is is this feeling of inaction that you just described. You know, I feel like I have been opened up to this world of collapse. I understand it. And now I scroll through Reddit every day and see more of the same, right.
I see other people describing their anxieties. I see articles posted about the latest tragedy or the latest trend. And like you said, it feels like, okay, now what? Okay. I've realized that the anxiety is coming from having a desire for action and having an idea of what actions I want to take, but not having the time, the resources to be able to do it.
You know, we both work nine to five jobs and I find my job somewhat fulfilling. I enjoy it when it comes to working a nine to five, I wouldn't choose a different one. That being said, I don't want to work a nine to five. Yeah.
You've just described sort of these dreams and ambitions that we have, uh, eventually being able to take this topic of collapse and, and while not stopping or ceasing to educate people on a topic, but also shift educating people on actions that they can take to prepare themselves and prepare their families, neighborhoods, and communities to be as resilient as possible in collapse.
And I think to do that, it would be a full-time job. And so the anxiety that I'm feeling is having this passion because I've become passionate about it. I find myself thinking about it and just really driven to do the research, to study it. It, I want to go out and interview the people who are doing parts of this right now, and figure out how to put it all together. And like you said, create a cool framework that anyone who wants to take action can look at and take the next step. Right.
But I feel constrained. I feel like I can't do any of that. My time is fully consumed right now as it is. And that leaves a bit of an unfulfilling feeling.
Kellan: [00:06:59] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And what gets me excited about what you just said is that I think there's a path to that f or us. I think so many of the incredible people that are out there listening to this podcast have expressed a desire, a hunger for those kinds of resources that I think we can provide.
And so it's going to take time. I feel confident that we'll get there. We want to make sure if we do that, we do it right.
And as cheesy as it sounds, it makes me deeply grateful for the people that are supporting what we're doing. You know, I think of the people who go pay a few bucks a month on Patreon to subscribe and support this podcast. We try to give extra value. We give bonus episodes every week to those people. but our purpose in that is achieving something even greater.
I will say. I don't think we're quite, even ready for that yet because you and I have outlined a whole number of topics that we have a lot of research to do, and we need to learn more about the foundation of awareness that we have right now is solid, but we need, I think, and maybe I'm just speaking for myself an even deeper understanding before we're ready to build on that foundation and take the kind of action that we're talking about.
Kory: [00:08:07] Yeah. And it's funny. I don't think we intended to really talk about this project in this episode, it kind of just came up this way, but like you said, if it's something that we ended up doing in the future, we're going to do it right. There is so much research and interviewing and collaborating with others, working with experts on this topic to even begin to make that happen. And I think that's what gets me excited about it is that it would be a huge project and a huge collaborative project.
And would legitimately require our full-time 40 hours a week attention, right. Or something like that.
And as we feel that that becomes closer and closer to becoming a reality where we could actually legitimately start having that time freed up to do that research, we can talk more about what the project entails, but it would be good to hear maybe a little bit of people's ideas or feedback around this.
Basically, you know, when it comes to optimism, Kellan and I are not optimistic that we're going to avoid collapse, but I know that speaking for myself, at least I do think that people will make it through. I don't think this is going to be the end of the human experience. As it's already been established, that resilient communities are going to be who make it through collapse. We should all have tools in our hands or be able to start forming resilient communities, resilient households, resilient neighborhoods, wherever we can. And so the idea is, is not to be like these overly optimistic "we can save the world" type project, but more, we can give people an opportunity to give themselves the best chances at making it through.
Kellan: [00:09:34] Yeah. And wherever they're located to make an impact on the people around them.
Kory: [00:09:38] Yeah, that's exactly right. But anyway, we are not anywhere near close to doing anything like that yet. It's just a topic that's come up over and over again in Kellen and I's private conversations as well as from time to time on the podcast. And we see requests for it all the time, just on the sub today on the subreddit, someone was like, what resources are out there to show me how I can start building a resilient community now, how I can create mutual aid, how I can do all these different things. And I just wanted to be able to be like, here it all is. I've got it lined out for you. You know? So one day, one day we'll get there.
Kellan: [00:10:11] And here we are talking about this. I know we genuinely didn't plan or anticipate on going this direction at all. You were just starting by asking about my mental health, but I love the idea that the growing listener base for this podcast can become in itself, kind of a resilient community, you know, a global, virtual connected group of people who see what's coming our way. And who are willing to support each other in the ways that they can to make the best of it. And I look forward to the day when we can facilitate that even more and provide those resources in that framework. So we'll get there. But speaking of mental health, I know Kory you've been noticing a lot of things on the subreddit. I don't spend much time there probably because I recognize it for my mental health. It's best to keep some level of distance.
But what do you feel like is the collective mental health of the collapse aware community on the subreddit?
Kory: [00:11:06] Man I feel like you see it all. It would be really hard to say what, what it would be collectively. But I think that I do see a lot of angst from people posting the type of thing that I just mentioned. Like, what's this all worth? What am I even doing? Why do we even bother going on? Why should I go to work? Why should I save money?
And that's increasing. There's a lot of those posts, you know, because the sub is growing so much, a lot of new people are learning about this and they have those types of questions. A few in particular this week, actually, that were posted to the subreddit, I thought were kind of interesting.
One of the posts was titled "collapse of meaning" . And part of what they said in the post was, "I don't really know how to explain this, but it seems like before the pandemic, people who I worked with were generally as normal as they could be, if a little off, because of the world we live in, the effects of social media, et cetera. I don't know what it is now though, but ever since about a year into the pandemic, I've noticed a lot of my new coworkers just being off the wall weird. It's not even COVID related. They're just weird in the sense of being mentally isolated and socially untuned. In a more immediate sense I've noticed this as a definite uptick in mental disorder, in my own close circle of family. " Yeah.
And the comments were really interesting as well because people were generally agreeing saying, yeah, I feel like, like, there's this sort of broken social contract, there's this loss of stability for a lot of people. And going back to what we were talking about earlier, I think there's this disillusionment in the system where they've grown up believing in this world that will continue to give them continued growth and economic enhancement and unlimited possibilities. And they have hopes and dreams for the future. And now they're becoming more aware of the cracks in the system, especially due to the pandemic and the resulting supply chain issues and political discord and mistrust in science and all of these different things. The difference for these people then for what you described is that they're not fully collapse aware. Society as a whole, seems to have this sort of feeling of like things aren't quite right, but they may not be able to really understand why or what's going on.
And I think that can cause a lot of sort of weird emotions and disassociation in people where they start to, to isolate themselves socially.
There's also this idea that gen Z, the zoomers are generally doomers and I know that's not going to be true for all of them, but they're growing up in a world where they're seeing the older generations and what they've left them with. And that a lot of these older generations are still optimistic about the future who still don't see it and who are saying, oh, by the way, there's a bunch of problems. Climate change, ecosystem loss, you know, uh, economic issues. Um, you guys are going to have to figure this out. Here you go. And that's causing a lot of weird resentment and, and nihilistic feelings as well.
So there's a whole range of all of this happening, which results in a whole range of different mental health issues I think for people. That was just one of the posts, um, you know, there was another one about guilt. The title was, does anyone else feel guilty? And they went on about some of their own consumerism habits. This person specifically. Was wealthy.
And for a long time bought just an over abundance of clothes. Some of it was fast fashion, and, and now they're realizing that they can't put back in the environment what they took from it undo the damage that was done and the guilt that comes from that. And I think we all have a little bit of that guilt, right?
If you're listening to this podcast, it's because you have an internet connection and a device with a speaker on it, which means that to some degree, you have some sort of level of privilege and that you in some way are contributing to the problem, right? We are all contributing to the problem. And so I think a lot of us feel guilt from that. And a lot of the comments on this one were saying you don't need to feel guilty. You're doing more than most people by at least understanding that you're part of the problem. And also realizing, you know, we, we have to realize we were born into this situation that we can't change. I couldn't remove myself from the consumerist lifestyle completely if I tried. It would cost them more money than staying in it.
And the last post that I'll mention here is one titled " finally, some good news: life doesn't have to be happy or meaningful." And it did link to an article that talked about how we don't necessarily have to search for meaning or purpose. You know, he talks about how we should be striving to feel things. Even if those things are uncomfortable, psychological richness in, you know, great art in music and things that make us happy, but also it's okay to feel discomfort or pain or sorrow.
And one of the commenters actually said the most uncomfortable, painful moments of my life have been followed by profound insight and change. And I am a huge advocate for that. I feel that suffering is one of the most transformative learning experiences. It's how we grow. And those painful and sorrowful moments can give people a perspective on life that can lead to happiness. So, anyway, I'm kind of all over the place with this, but just reading off some of these articles and posts from people show that there is a whole range of different emotions happening, but there is definitely a lot of anxiety, a lot of depression, a lot of despair, a lot of confusion around the future. But also around our current situations.
Kellan: [00:16:06] You know what, to me, it's fascinating to hear all the different approaches that people take and to hear about the reactions people are having to this kind of awakening to the situation that we're in.
Just the fact that, you know, you've mentioned this one forum, this one way that people are communicating about collapse, which is on Reddit within this subreddit. The fact that the membership of that subreddit has grown so dramatically in such a short period of time. And the fact that you're seeing all these types of posts on that subreddit, to me that's just evidence that we are in it right now. Like we are witnessing collapse, take place.
And depending on what you think rock bottom will look like, or how far you think this will go, will determine how far along in the process you think we are.
But with a global pandemic and all the international conflict and the resource shortages and the economic troubles and the natural disasters and the wealth gap disparity that's growing and all these things that are just increasing exponentially, you can see that people are being affected by it, and it's having a direct impact on their mental health.
So with that in mind, I know that we intend to do kind of a part two episode on coping. And that's what this conversation today is about.
And part of the reason we're doing this is because we've actually had direct requests. People asking us to revisit this topic. I'm sure we will revisit this in the future, but I'm hoping what we talk about today will just add a few more things to everyone's tool belt when it comes to how they can cope with collapse in general.
And in preparation for this, I went back and listened to our first episode on coping. Okay. It was one of the earlier ones. But I've just got to say if I can brag for just a moment, you know, as I listen back on some of the other episodes we recorded, I have all my insecurities and I think like, oh, I wish I would have said that differently. Or if I could go back and say that again, I would have approached it this way. And yet when I went back and listened to the episode on coping.
I almost have this feeling of pride, like that was kind of a masterpiece.
Kory: [00:18:17] You motivated yourself.
Kellan: [00:18:20] Yeah. And that's very egotistical I'm sure. But I just felt like we did a good job of, uh, providing some ideas that were more kind of high-level and philosophical as well as some specific tactics for coping, with the knowledge of collapse. I know in preparing for that episode, I had tried to make it extremely meaningful and I put a lot of thought into it. And so, I dunno, maybe nobody got the kind of value out of it that I intended for people to get out of it.
But as a preface to us diving more into this topic today, I would encourage anyone who hasn't heard that one to go listen to that one first.
Kory: [00:18:56] It was episode 15, just so that if someone wants to bounce right to it, they can.
Kellan: [00:19:00] Perfect. Yeah. And I would even say, if you have heard it, it's probably been a while. And so it might be worth going back and re listening to that one.
Okay. So in that first episode on coping, we talked about how a person can cope with the reality of collapse and realizing that it will take place. Like I said, just a minute ago, it seems like we're not just seeing collapse as something off in the future instead to some degree we're living through it now. And so I'm hoping this conversation, this episode, We can talk more about how to cope with collapse itself as it's happening.
And a lot of the same principles apply. You may remember previously we discussed how important it is to live in the present and that a lot of our negative emotions, you know, depression, anger, that kind of thing is us looking to the past or fear, anxiety. Usually that's us looking to the future and those negative emotions are kind of the guard rails to remind us that we need to live in the present.
We need to accept that hard things happen to everyone. And when big challenges come your way, the universe isn't picking on you, that's part of being resilient. We need to realize that people who obsessively think about their own level of happiness and are always trying to obtain more happiness, actually report being less happy.
And so, although making sure we're in a good spot mentally is a good thing. It's okay to experience the full range of emotions. And that should be how we live our life. We're not seeking out all the negative emotions, but when they come our way, we can accept them. We can feel them and embrace them and move past them.
It's important to be grateful. Lots of research shows that that even in times of hardship helps a person cope and feel happier.
We need to help others because there's fulfillment in that. And at the same time, find ways to take care of ourselves, but not do it in a way that it's self-destructive.
So all of that is what we've touched on in the past. Now to add to that, Kory there's a phrase that you've probably heard me say. Yeah,
it's something that I heard a long time ago and for some reason it's just stuck with me and as time goes on, I just realize more and more how profound it is. And the statement is " all frustration stems from unmet expectation."
And I know people have different ways of communicating that same idea, but I'll just say it one more time, because I think it is so important. " All frustration stems from unmet expectations." Okay.
So on one hand, it's important to make sure our expectations are accurate. Sometimes when people despair about claps, they think collapse is just going to be this awful apocalyptic world next week or next month or next year.
And yet one thing is you've taught me about collapse, Kory you've tried to reiterate is that it's a gradual process.
There's pros and cons to that, right, there, there would be some good things about us being able to collapse earlier, but the fact that we anticipate it being kind of a gradual decline in some ways is really good because as humans we're actually really good at adapting.
And what I mean by that is we're kind of the frog that's placed in a pot of cold water and the water is slowly heated up until we're boiling. And where that's bad, because that means we just get used to things and we don't make the kind of changes we need to., It's also good because from a coping perspective, we quickly realize, Hey, this is a new normal, and we adapt to it.
Kory: [00:22:18] Yeah. So you're not saying that like our system adapts to it, that everything will be okay because it's happening slowly. Instead, you're saying mentally we're able to take these changes in small doses and over time, our brains are more able to handle that.
Kellan: [00:22:33] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. It's kind of like if you grow up wearing shoes all the time, and then somebody takes away your shoes, it might take a little while to gain some calluses and get used to walking around barefoot. But there are entire villages and civilizations that haven't had good footwear and you can live just fine that way. Yes. It's not as comfortable. And yet you would adapt and maybe that's a silly example, but you see it with even the natural disasters, the pandemic, all the things that we're seeing currently, people just kind of get used to it. And on one hand that causes some complacency. And yet on the other hand, it's a Testament to just how resilient we are as people that we can adapt to a new normal.
Kory: [00:23:13] Yeah. It's interesting. It's kind of the reason why a lot of people will say collapse isn't real it's not happening, while it's happening. You know, they could be stuck at home during a pandemic and the sky is filled with smoke from insane wildfires. There are droughts and, and all these crazy things going on around them. But people quickly adjust to the differences in their lives. And so it's easy for people to say, this is fine. This isn't that much different. Which like you said, for, for mental purposes, that can be great. For acknowledgement and awareness and making changes not, not so much.
Kellan: [00:23:49] Yeah, exactly. So going back to that phrase, all frustration stems from automatic expectations, you can avoid a lot of frustration if you reevaluate what your expectations are for the future and try and deliberately place those with the most accuracy possible.
Now this just like any other coping mechanism is absolutely something that's helpful, but we have to be careful not to take it to an extreme. Somebody could take a phrase like that and say, okay, okay. That means I'm just going to expect that everything is going to be absolutely horrible and that way I will only ever be pleasantly surprised.
Although that may be true, it's not a good way to live thinking that everything is going to be awful. And so this goes back to the Stockdale paradox that we've mentioned before, or you have to balance optimism with realism. You want to hope for the best prepare for the worst, have faith that you'll prevail in the end while also recognizing the realities of your situation.
Kory Now I want you to just imagine for a moment, what if I were to come to you? And I were to say, Hey, one year from now, You are going to be placed at a point in history when it was one of the worst times to be alive when the conditions were absolutely horrible. Maybe like, Hey, I'm going to place you one year from now in Europe during the black death, or I'm going to place you in China during the Mongol invasion, when the population was cut down from like 120 million to 60 million, and there was just almost limitless suffering.
If I were to say to you, Hey, you've got a year and then I'm going to put you in this awful time to be alive. And you'll have to be there for a year or two. What would you do? Like what steps would you take to mentally or emotionally prepare for that trial that you're going to have to face?
Kory: [00:25:29] You know, I guess it's weird. But the first thing that came to my mind was start to get used to suffering. Like part of me is like I got a year left. I should just freaking live it up. Right. I should be out partying and whatever, doing all the things that I want to do, but I know that's not what I would actually do. I think what I would actually do is try and get myself used to discomfort and difficult situations.
Kellan: [00:25:50] And that is such a good answer. In fact, that's something that we're going to talk about a little bit. And if you think about it, that is kind of what we're saying is, Hey, there's some sort of a timeframe here in which you can expect to have to pass through one of the most difficult times to be alive. That's kind of what we're saying with collapse. Or maybe you've got a broader timeframe and you think it won't be until it's your kids, your grandkids, that it's really going to be that bad.
But keeping that in mind, I want to tell you about somebody that I've learned about, his name is David Goggins. For those listening maybe you've heard of him before.
But without going into a lot of detail about his background, you can just know that he at one point entered a race that requires running 100 miles in 24 hours. Okay. Which by the way, I've run a marathon before. And I thought that was an accomplishment, but 100 miles, you've got to run 100 miles, 24 hour timeframe.
And by the way, he hadn't really prepared for it. He had his reasons why, it was kind of supporting this noble cause and he felt like he was really important. But at the time I am, he weighed somewhere between 240 and 270 pounds. So he's a big dude and he says, I'm going to enter this 100 mile foot race.
At the 70 mile mark, which by the way, I think of making it 70 miles. Here's what one source says. It says all the metatarsal bones in his feet were broken. There were stress fractures, shin splints, and muscle tearing. He was peeing blood down his leg because he couldn't make it to a toilet 20 feet from him.
Yeah. And yet at that point he taped up his feet and ankles and he ends up finishing the race.
Kory: [00:27:26] Wow. So I've run, I think the furthest I've ever run it once was like a 10 K. Which is what is that like six miles or something. And that absolutely destroyed me. So to think about 70 miles for someone who has not prepared for it, who weighs as much as he did, to have destroyed all of those bones after 70 miles and then finish it.
Like it's one thing if he had to like run another mile, which is still an insane amount, I can't imagine running a mile on with anything broken, but to run 30 more miles, more than a marathon more, to finish that race is like actually unbelievable. I'm having a hard time believing it.
Kellan: [00:28:05] Well, that was kind of his first experience with these ultra races. But he now has multiple first place finishes at some of the most extreme ultra endurance races.
He also happens to be the only member of the U S armed forces to complete seal training, us army ranger school and air force tactical controller training.
Anyways, at one point there's somebody named Jesse Itzler who wanted to learn how David did that a hundred mile race with those really severe injuries. And if I remember right, Jesse invited David to come live at his place and just teach him how to build that kind of mental toughness.
And David agreed to it, but he said, I'll only do it if you'll actually follow the things that I tell you to do. So right away, David makes him do 100 pull-ups and Jesse, he did like eight pull-ups on his first set, you know, and took a break and then he did six and then he was able to get a few after that. And then he's just toast. Right. And yet he's supposed to do a hundred pull-ups.
But David pushed him to one more and then one more and then one more, all the way until he did a hundred. So here's the quote from Jesse Itzler after that experience, he said, " He showed me, proved to me right there, that there was so much more we're all capable of so much more than we think we are. He would say that when your mind is telling you you're done, you're really only 40% done."
And what's interesting is that there's been research out there that proves that statement has some truth. That 40% idea, when we feel like we've reached our limit, we're really only 40% there. And they've done some experiments where they've given people a placebo, but those individuals think that they're getting caffeine. And then like in a weight lifting competition, they're able to lift significantly more weight than those who were actually given caffeine.
So I bring up that example of David Goggins because there's an element of mental toughness. There are some people out there like him, which by the way, I don't recommend doing what he did. Like that almost seems like something in his brain is broken.
Kory: [00:30:11] Seriously.
Kellan: [00:30:13] But there are people out there that you can throw almost anything at them and they will square up their shoulders and take it head on. And so a couple of things around how we can develop that kind of mental and emotional resilience, that kind of toughness, which will make it so that as anything comes our way with resulting collapse, what we consider to be inevitable collapse, we'll be able to make it through, we'll be resilient,.
A huge part of it starts with your identity. And one thing that research seems to show over and over again as being effective and you'll find it in just about any self-help book that's out there, is affirmations.
So affirmations are essentially statements that we tell ourselves. And there's this idea around our self integrity and how that relates to our global self-efficacy. which has been defined as our perceived ability to control moral outcomes and respond flexibly when our self-concept is threatened.
So it allows us to choose what we want our self narrative to be. And in this narrative, this, these statements that we tell ourselves about ourselves, we're more flexible. We make better choices, we're more capable of adapting to different circumstances.
And one statement about this, this is from an article citing a few different research papers that are out there. So "self-affirmation theory argues that maintaining self-identity is not about being exceptional, perfect, or excellent. Rather, we just need to be competent and adequate in different areas that we personally value in order to be moral, flexible, and good." And that flexibility, that ability to adapt to different circumstances is essentially something that we can build into our self narrative. And we can form our own identity, basically being able to convince ourselves, yes, I can handle this. Those affirmations, that self-talk, David Goggins uses that, others use that you hear it all the time when people are up against the challenge and they say, okay, I've got this. I can do this. Or they say I'm strong, I'm capable, I'm smart. And even if you don't feel that that's true in the moment, we're kind of hardwired to be able to trick ourselves into actually being convinced of it to the point that it becomes a true statement.
Kory: [00:32:30] Yeah. It kind of feels like with, with mental health, our self identity is like our foundation. It's what grounds us. And as things are happening around us, as the world goes crazy, or as we're getting hit with all these different sort of attacks on our mental health, if we know who we are and we tell ourselves that, it grounds us and, and keeps us secure. Even if you don't necessarily feel it all the time. It's still important to believe that about yourself. I remember there was one time in my life where I was going through a pretty hard time and I was away from family and friends and yeah. And to keep myself grounded, I remember, this is really weird and most people would probably think I'm a freak, but I would wink at myself in the mirror whenever I'd see a mirror. And then I laugh and I would feel better. And it was almost like reminding myself, like you got this, you're still you. Things are tough.
But like, you still have your sense of humor, you know, it just, it grounded myself. It reminded me who I was and it wasn't words. wasn't telling myself those things with words, but I still, in a way it was an affirmation. It was a reminder of who I was at the time.
Kellan: [00:33:35] Yeah. It's a form of self-talk and that's an awesome example. There's somebody that I work with who has gone through some really challenging things and I don't need to detail what all of those are, but one statement that I've heard her frequently say, even when challenges come up at work, Is she'll kind of smile and she'll say I can do hard things.
And I love that. She's built that as part of her identity as somebody who's capable of handling challenging situations. She says that out loud to me, I know that she says it to herself. She's told me that that's kind of her mantra now is just being able to say, you know what, I can do hard things. And somebody who tells themselves that is going to be much more resilient and much more capable of actually handling hard things when they come their way.
Kory: [00:34:16] And I'll just say I'm somebody who normally finds motivational topics kind of cheesy. Um, but this is one that I totally agree with. Cause I've, I've done it myself and I used to do this without knowing that it was something that people taught you to do. You know, I was never told that it was called an affirmation or anything like that, but I found through personal experience that whether it was that wink or whether it was saying, you know, I can do hard things, I can do this. It's true. It does help you to actually feel like you can and therefore you can.
Kellan: [00:34:49] Yeah. It's effective. I mean, you talk about it kind of anecdotally, you've seen that in your life. I personally have seen it in my own. I mentioned this coworker who she tells herself this affirmation over and over again. And I've seen her be very successful at handling really difficult things.
And to expand that out when it comes to positive self-talk, there's also a lot of power, you know, David Goggins and many others will talk about visualizing. And it's important that you visualize yourself succeeding, especially at things that you're nervous about. So I know I've used this, whether it's been like sporting competitions in the past, or whether I've got a big presentation at work that my hands are kind of shaking and I'm nervous about. To be able to visualize myself absolutely nailing it and achieving whatever outcome I'm hoping for.
Collapse, as you envision whatever you think is going to be what collapsed looks like in your life, you can just spend a little bit of time visualizing yourself in that moment, doing what is kind and helping somebody else or not panicking and going to whatever resources that you know you have available or whatever you would like to see yourself do when collapsed related events come your way, picture yourself doing them now. And when that time comes, you won't even have to make the decision. It'll be like an automatic response.
You know, I've got young kids and there's all sorts of things that are kind of scary in the world. And there's this idea out there that I adhere to, which is like, if I don't want my kids to do drugs, then it's important for us to role play that situation, help them make the decision now that they're not going to do drugs. That way, when they're a little bit older, they're at a party it's presented to them. They're not in this moment of crisis trying to figure out what they should do. They've already made the decision long ago. And there's some of that that comes with visualizing as we picture ourselves, doing whatever we think is the right thing in that moment, we've already wired that into our brain so that it becomes an automatic response when the time comes.
Kory: [00:36:51] Yeah, I think that's a great way to prepare yourself mentally. I also think that's a great way to get yourself through the hard time as it's happening as well. You know, maybe you're living through something collapse-related right now, or just something difficult, whether it's collapse related or not. Whatever the case, I think, visualizing yourself, reaching that goal and telling yourself that you can go a long ways towards helping make that a reality.
and obviously just because you think it, or believe it doesn't make it so that it's going to happen, but it's the mental part of it that we're talking about here, the believing that you can, that keeps you actionable, it keeps you motivated to work towards it instead of shutting down and facing the inevitable consequences of inaction.
Kellan: [00:37:33] I feel like you just said that in a much smarter way than I did. I love the way you phrased that. So a couple more things when it comes to just these concepts that can help you become mentally and emotionally resilient, that much better at coping with things. Not only now, but especially as they come your way, these challenges related to collapse.
One of them goes back to your answer, Kory when I said, Hey, what if I were tell you a year from now, you're going to be placed in a really challenging time in history. What would you do to prepare? You said, I think I would try and get used to a little bit of suffering and related to that, there's this idea that we should practice doing hard things that aren't the path of least resistance, even if they're small. And I'm not talking about things that you're obligated to do, that you're dragging your feet and that you do grudgingly, I'm talking about you actually deliberately choosing something that's just a little more challenging.
So maybe you feel like eating something unhealthy and instead you choose to eat something healthy. That little choice. That's going to help you form yourself identity of being somebody that can do hard things. It's gonna give you a lot of confidence. It's gonna just make you more mentally and emotionally resilient.
Maybe you want to watch some mind-numbing show on Netflix and you choose instead to read a book, or maybe you've just got a mosquito bite and you really want to scratch it. And you're about to, but then you say, you know what, I'm going to go a whole another minute without scratching this mosquito bite.
It's such a small thing, but as you kind of force yourself to do some hard things now, even if they're small things that plays a huge part in, in that kind of identity that we need to be resilient.
Kory: [00:39:08] Yeah, a lot of what you're describing is showing self-control and showing that it's okay to be uncomfortable. I think especially in the west, we are just so addicted to comfort and everything that we do is, like you said, in the path of least resistance, and we dread this idea that we might have to become more uncomfortable. And, you know, you mentioned some really small things.
Um, I think of some of the most memorable things from like growing up was going camping, right? Going camping is not a comfortable thing, you're sleeping in a tent and a sleeping bag on an uncomfortable ground with it's cold outside. And you know, you got to work to build a fire and cook your food over the fire and fish for your meals and, and all of these different things that are difficult to do, but they show you that you can do hard things. You learn from them. And you actually discover that it's a lot of fun. Sometimes it's, it's fun to be uncomfortable, as weird as it sounds, but it goes, it goes back to a quote that we've mentioned before from John Michael Greer, which has collapsed now and avoid the rush.
And obviously you don't have to completely live a collapsed lifestyle, but the more that you wean yourself off of the comforts that you're used to the more resilient you're going to be to the crappy situations that come your way. When everyone else is panicking, because gas prices have gone through the roof or there's no gasoline in the, in the stations and they're having to walk. Maybe you're already used to it. Maybe you're used to taking the bus when it would've been much more convenient to, to drive your car, whatever it might be. Right? Like there's so many cases in which it gives you an upper hand mentally. And it's one less thing that you'll have to worry about at a time when everyone else is worrying about those things.
Kellan: [00:40:48] Yeah. So there's some really important aspects there, you know, you're describing that idea of just getting used to being able to handle things that are more difficult. And the other benefit of doing what we're talking about here is just developing a certain level of mental toughness.
You know, Kory as you know, I played football in high school. I wasn't ever all that good at it, but I learned some really important lessons from who I feel was a very effective coach. And those have helped me, you know, in all those years since then, to be successful in other areas of life. Anyways, this coach one thing that he would do if we were doing some really difficult like weightlifting and maybe there's some heavy weight that you're supposed to lift 10 times over your head. He would say, whatever number I tell you, I'm just going to invite you whatever it is to do one more.
And nobody was watching to make sure you would actually do one more. It wasn't a requirement. But if he said do this 10 times, I kind of got into that habit. Even though if my arms were shaking and muscles were burning and whatever to just do 11. And that for me has been really powerful. He would also always say something like, Hey, listen, if you quit now, you're going to quit later. You're setting a pattern for yourself. And something about that made me want to, even when things were really hard, not quit, because I knew that meant I'd be that much more resistant against quitting later on.
All right. So the last thing I'll mention for today's conversation is that much of your identity and your self worth comes from how closely you live your values. And I'm not trying to prescribe any values. Your values might be very different from mine, but whatever your values are, you're going to feel like crap and your self-confidence will go down if you behave in a way that's contrary to your values.
So there's somebody named Brene brown. She's become famous for the way that she talks about vulnerability and empathy and some of these other things, but in a book of hers called dare to lead, she's got one kind of exercise there where she lists something like a hundred values. And she says, just narrow it down to 10, which 10 of these are your core values. The things that really matter most to you. And it's really challenging to do, but once you've done that, then she says, okay, now of those 10 only pick two, what are the two values that really define you?
And it might be something like compassion or health or balance or ambition or forgiveness or growth, honesty, integrity, family, whatever it is. But the point is that if something that you really value is risk-taking and yet you're not doing anything in your life to take any risks., You're not going to have much self-confidence and your sense of identity is going to suffer.
Maybe one of your core values is leisure, and yet you're always working and you're not taking any time to have any leisure. You're going to feel misaligned in your life. Maybe it's family, and you're not spending time with your family or whatever your core values are actually behaving in a way that aligns with those core values is incredibly important.
And that might sound like something just kind of fluffy, like, Hey, that belongs in a self-help book, but what does that have to do with collapse? But it goes back to this idea of mental toughness, mental resilience, emotional resilience. People who behave in a way that aligns with their core values, have a higher sense of self-confidence and self-worth, they find more fulfillment in life. And when hard things come their way, they're more resilient to handling those things.
Kory: [00:44:08] It feels like yet again it's another way to be grounded when things get harder. Like, I feel like if once again, the world around me is chaotic, but I can still say I am a compassionate person. And even through the chaos, I'm being compassionate to others, it just helps hold me down when it feels like everything else is going crazy. I don't know if that makes a lot of sense,
but I, I think back to the beginning of this episode, when we started talking about that post on Reddit, where the person was saying, it feels like everyone around me, like is kinda going crazy. Like nobody really knows who they are. And, and everybody just kind of seems lost. Like, if you can do these things that you've just talked about, establishing and affirming your identity, building these values and living those values, you know, practicing doing hard things, visualizing yourself doing those hard things and having a successful outcome.
Like if everybody did that, they wouldn't be walking around lost, right? Because as the world is shifting around them and as collapse unfolds, and as our paradigm shift, we've built this foundation of who we are.
And that's the base from which all other coping can happen. But if we haven't established that yet, we just end up being one of those people that that's lost and crazy and mentally kind of lost and confused.
Kellan: [00:45:22] And frankly, you think of these things and you might just think like, Hey, these are soft skills. It's hard to really determine how important it is for me to practice these coping self resilience tactics. But I'll just tell you this. If there were two groups of people, group a and group B, and I knew that collapse was progressing and things were going to get worse, group a has all the supplies and physical preparations, but they're very mentally weak. They don't have that mental toughness or that resilience mentally and emotionally, and then group B, they don't have all the physical preparations, but they're mentally tough. I would bet on group B every time to be able to make it through collapse.
And so anyways, I know there's a lot more, that would be great to go into, and we'll revisit this topic in future conversations, but even just preparing this content is a good reminder for me. I wanna be practicing these things so that I can take anything that comes my way, head on.
Kory: [00:46:16] Yeah. That's superb. Thanks Kellan I know that this is probably a part of my study and education where I lack, I haven't thought about this type of thing for a long time, but you talking about it this way makes me want to focus more on making sure that that I'm grounded and that I am working on my own mental toughness.
And like you said, it is a soft skill and some people really aren't into that. You know, it's, it's a hard thing to practice because it's not something that you can easily track the progress on. I'm a numbers guy, right? So I like logical and like visual change things with data that I can actually track and something like this is hard to do, but it is super important and it will make a huge difference when it comes to facing tough times and tough challenges.
So thank you again. And we'll see you next week. .