“How do I cure depression, Jon?” is one of the most common questions that I get asked. A lot of men are depressed nowadays, for numerous reasons. Well, lucky for you, I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, and a ton of emotional baggage for most of my life.
A dysfunctional childhood left my psyche completely shattered and fragmented; I was constantly depressed, had horrible panic attacks, couldn’t sleep, and had no motivation to live life. I tried dozens of different ways to fix it, but most of it didn’t work.
Do you know what I’m talking about? That generic advice that you see on like WebMD or some shit, saying to “focus on the positive!” Like yeah, fucking thanks. It’s kind of hard to do that when your mood is like a black hole. I was even on a whole host of anti-depressants, sleeping pills, and other pharmaceutical drugs for a LONG time—none of them worked.
After YEARS of experimentation, however, I’ve created a very simple formula that not only helped me cure depression in myself, but that I know can also help others cure depression, too.
Getting out of depression basically comes down to managing the “core four,” areas of your life:
Yup, it’s that simple. If you learn how to effectively manage these areas of your life, you will cure your depression, no doubt.
Obviously this isn’t going to be a “magic pill,” but I firmly believe that if you follow the steps outlined you will absolutely cure your depression within just a few weeks.
Maybe even less. You’ll definitely start to notice a difference after a day or two, but you’ll REALLY start to notice a difference in your mood come weeks 2, 3, 4, and beyond. Here’s a quick introduction to each area of your life that you must manage in order to cure depression:
The physical has to do with your actual biology. Is your body getting enough nutrients to create certain vital neurotransmitters? Are you working out enough to release endorphins? A lot of psychiatrists and psychologists have this completely retarded idea that you can fix depression just by talking about your emotions. You can’t.
Yes, dealing with your emotions is crucial to cure depression, but it isn’t going to cure depression all by itself. You live in the physical world, and you need to accept this.
Thus, part of your depression (if you have it) is likely caused by a lack of physical factors. We will discuss this more later.
Part of the cure to depression is uncovering old emotional thought patterns and repressed feelings. There’s this stupid belief floating around the manosphere that somehow emotions are “un-manly,” or something, but that’s literally the most retarded thing I’ve ever heard.
Emotions are alpha as fuck, because they show you’re comfortable enough with yourself to be vulnerable. Emotions are how you create masculine bonds and enjoy life; they’re how you fall in love with a girl and have good times.
You are going to have to uncover old, emotional bullshit, that was likely passed down to you via your parents.
I’ll talk about specifically how to do this later.
Part of depression has to do with your thoughts, and whether or not you’re expanding your mind. If you never read, learn new things, or challenge yourself, it’s very hard to be happy. Men were meant to constantly grow, and one of the ways we do this is through feeding our minds.
Using the mental component of your life to cure depression will consist of two things: learning new things and letting go of old beliefs.
This sphere is a little bit tricky to isolate, because it’s so intertwined with the emotional sphere, but we’ll do our best.
If you want to cure depression, there’s no way around it: you will have to ask the bigger questions.
A lot of men nowadays face a sort of existential crisis, because we realize that we aren’t needed by society any longer. We’re just cogs in a machine, and have no greater purpose, like a war or a cause to unite us.
We will ask some very painful, but powerful and liberating questions today that will help us to find our purpose.
This is why so many men are depressed nowadays: they have no purpose. Our biggest concern just several generations ago was fighting in World War II or some other war to protect our families and our countries. Now, our biggest concern is “uhh this Tinder girl didn’t text me back, what do I do?”
Do you see the point? When a man has no higher purpose, such as to protect his family or his country, he naturally becomes depressed. Men were meant to embody a higher purpose, and you cannot live a functional, rewarding life, free of depression, without doing this.
Before we get into the specifics for each area of your life, we should first talk about how to apply this formula. I would recommend starting with your body. This is the very first thing that you should do. We are primarily physical beings; everything in our biology affects our psychology.
If your body is constantly fatigued and weak, and not producing enough neurotransmitters or endorphins, it’s going to be extremely difficult to cure depression. This is why you must start with the physical. Implement the physical activities and habits that I mention into your life first.
“But Jon—I’m already doing these things!” I can hear you say. That’s fine. Just move onto the next set of habits and exercises, which are emotional. We move next to the emotional sphere of self, because in my experience, you cannot conquer the mind or the spirit until you’ve conquered your emotions.
Don’t worry about expanding your mind or finding a purpose yet; these will come naturally once you deal with your internal bullshit and negative repressed emotions. This will be one of the more difficult spheres, but also the most rewarding to conquer.
From here, we will move onto conquering the mental sphere of your life—now that you have mastered your more primal instincts (body and emotions) you can start to master your more “human” side: your intellect. This will basically consist of expanding your world view, exposing yourself to different ideas, and challenging your old beliefs. Again, I will talk about how to do these things specifically to cure depression in a moment, but for now, I’m laying out a road map.
Lastly, once your “lower three” spheres of self have been mastered, you can move onto the highest one: the spirit. This has to deal with your purpose; why you were put on earth, or what you’re going to make out of life. This will, for many men, be the most difficult to conquer, but I firmly believe that if I could do it, then so can you.
Also, as we read on, keep in mind: really you’re one being. It isn’t like you’re four separate entities and you have to learn to control each one. In reality, you’re just one human being, but it’s easier to cure depression if you use this model and segment yourself into four parts.
Okay, first things first—let’s master the physical plane so that we can help you cure your depression.
The physical sphere of self, when used to cure depression, comes down to three things:
In my opinion, diet is the most important, because it’s essentially providing your body with the building blocks that you need to cure depression. It’s giving your body the nutrients to repair cell membranes, create neurotransmitters, and function properly (or not, if you’re eating bullshit).
Behind this, is sleep—it is almost impossible to cure depression without getting enough sleep. You can definitely lessen your depression, but in order to fully cure it, you need to get enough sleep. Lastly, is physical exercise. “But Jon! Isn’t physical exercise extremely important?”
Yes, it is—but for the sake of depression, it takes a back seat to diet and sleep. You can exercise all you want, but without the proper diet and enough sleep, it will just jack your cortisol levels up and burn you out. So, with this in mind, let’s talk about how to get out of depression naturally.
If you’ve been following my blog for long enough, you know that I’m a huge advocate of exercise. Which exercise routine you do will depend a lot on your goals, however. To learn more about exercise routines, read the following articles:
Even though those are great routines, I still recommend that you follow Body of an Alpha (my own routine). I designed it to be the best possible routine ever, so I think that every man could benefit from it.
It’s pretty frequent, coming down to 5 days a week. This is great if you’re trying to get out of depression naturally, because working out increases your testosterone levels, relaxes you, and generates a ton of “feel good” hormones. Working out 5 days a week is ideal, because it’s not too much to overload your body, but it’s not so infrequent that you don’t have a constant stream of endorphins rushing through your bloodstream.
I also integrate HIIT into Body of an Alpha, which is the most efficient form of cardiovascular exercise. High intensity interval training, or HIIT, has been shown to have a shit ton of benefits:
In addition to this, Body of an Alpha combines hypertrophy with strength training, so that you get the best of both worlds. It covers diet, training technique, mindset, principles of lifting, and more. I highly urge you to check it out, but if you don’t want to, that’s fine. Just start exercising for your own sake.
Even if you don’t buy Body of an Alpha, please just make sure you do SOMETHING. Exercise helps MASSIVELY to cure depression!
Having a good diet is extremely important if your goal is to cure depression. As I’ve said before, your diet will change depending on your goals. Typically if you’re trying to build muscle as a skinny guy, you want a very carbohydrate heavy diet. If you’re trying to cure depression, however, you want a very high fat diet.
Some sort of paleo diet would be ideal; I’d recommend some form of a paleo diet, preferably the Bulletproof Diet. I know I talk about this diet a lot, but that’s because in my experience it’s the best diet for general lifestyle design. You don’t have to follow it, though—as long as you’re following a paleo diet of some sort (only eat foods that cavemen had) you’ll be good.
The reason why you need a high fat diet if you’re trying to cure depression is because fat (particularly saturated fat) is CRUCIAL for brain health.
There’s a lot of studies out there claiming that high fat diets are bad for your health, but if you look at the actual studies, you’ll see that they were performed using crappy fats like hydrogenated oils and trans fats. No shit that garbage is going to make you depressed—what you really want is healthy fats, like the fats from:
You can still build muscle on a paleo diet, but it won’t be as fast as a traditional bodybuilder’s high-carb diet. If you’re trying to cure depression, however, I suggest you go with a high fat paleo diet. Now—how do supplements fit into all of this? Well, there’s plenty of supplements that help fight depression naturally. Let’s list a few:
New Mood by Onnit
I’ve been taking New Mood for quite a while now, and I have to say—it’s pretty damn effective. The reason why is because it gives your body the nutrients that it needs to cure depression. It gives your body nutrients like L-Tryptophan, 5-HTP, and Inositol, which are all all used to create vital neurotransmitters (aka make you happier).
New Mood also has a bunch of herbal extracts that have been shown to increase feelings of well being, such as Valerian root, Lemon Balm, and Jujube seed extract.
Personally I recommend taking two capsules in the morning and two at night to cure depression. Eventually, once you get all core four areas of your life in order, you won’t even need it anymore (although it definitely will help).
Jon’s “Happy Cocktail”
“But Jon, what if I don’t want to buy the pills! They’re kind of expensive.” Yup, I get that—don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. If money is tight, you can actually make your own cocktail by buying the ingredients in bulk powder form.
Here is what my “happy cocktail” consists of:
Every morning, not anymore, but when I was intensely depressed, I used to mix the first three ingredients into a glass of warm water and pound it down. Then, that night, I’d do the same. This helped me MASSIVELY in curing my depression naturally.
Why? Because each of those three ingredients plays an integral role in balancing your brain chemistry. Think of this cocktail as a “natural” anti-depressant (that actually works). If I was REALLY stressed or depressed, then I’d call out the big guns: kratom or phenibut.
If it was the evening, I’d use kratom, because it makes you sleepy in high enough amounts. If it was the morning, I’d use phenibut, because it tends to be more energizing. If you don’t have the money to purchase New Mood, I HIGHLY recommend this method.
For further research, check out a book called The Ultramind Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman. This is where I got the idea for this cocktail anyways; he presents a series of tests that you answer, and then he recommends SPECIFIC ingredients for you to take on a daily basis based off of your current condition. It is a must read, in my opinion.
As I said before, sleep is extremely important if you want to cure depression. Basically this boils down to two things: getting enough sleep (quantity) and getting good sleep (quality). Getting enough sleep is pretty simple. You should be getting 8-9 hours a night; sometimes more if you work out a lot. I’m not going to give you a guide on doing that, because you either do it or you don’t.
The second part, however, is much more difficult: how do you get… “high quality” sleep?
Well, there’s a few things that have helped me MASSIVELY in getting better sleep:
I already talked about the acupressure mat in my evening routine article, but I’ll mention it again here. Basically it’s a mat with a shit ton of little spikes…and you lie down on it for 10-15 minutes before bed. Yup. “What the fuck, Jon?” I can hear you say. Yeah, that’s what I thought too…until I ordered it and felt like I was on a heroin trip after 10 minutes of lying down on it.
Basically what happens is that when you lie down on an acupressure mat, all of the little spikes poke into your back’s muscles, so it hurts like hell at first. But after 5-10 minutes, your muscles relax and circulation increases MASSIVELY while your body also churns out endorphins.
In layman’s terms, using an acupressure mat for just 15 minutes is incredibly relaxing, and helps cure depression.
That’s why it’s a part of my evening routine. If you haven’t read that article, I highly recommend checking it out and following it to a T. for several months. There were several nutrition and supplement hacks that I didn’t mention in my article, however.
The first is to eat two tablespoons of nut butter (like almond butter or peanut butter) and a teaspoon of Manuka honey before you go to bed. The fat and glycogen will help provide your brain with nutrients while you’re asleep; this will help particularly well if you’re the type that wakes up multiple times during the night.
In addition to this, Manuka Honey also has a ton of benefits (probiotics, nutrients, anti-bacterial, etc.), so it’s great to consume all around. In addition to this, you can consider OCCASIONALLY using kratom or melatonin to fall asleep, but don’t get in the habit of doing it, because you’ll become dependent on them. Occasional use (1-2 times a week) is fine, though. I find it best to use kratom AND melatonin the night before a huge workout, so that I’m super rested, plus I can fall asleep easier the next day due to exhausting my body and won’t need any help.
Okay, so you’ve got your physical body in check. Your neurotransmitters are functioning properly, there’s a bunch of endorphins rushing through your bloodstream…but it’s time to go a step further.
We need to do two things:
Although these things sound very simple, they’re actually incredibly difficult. They are, however, incredibly useful and will eventually help you cure depression.
“But Jon, I don’t have any repressed emotions!” Mother fucker, 99% of people say this, but literally ever single one of them has some form of repressed emotions.
Maybe you have leftover anger towards your parents for not giving you enough love. Maybe you have leftover anger at your mother for being cold, or for abandoning you. Maybe you’ve got leftover sadness or insecurities from being bullied at one point. Maybe you’ve got leftover anxiety and fear from a time you were physically confronted or something.
I don’t know what you’ve repressed over the years, but we’re going to find out.
The number one way, in my opinion, to release repressed emotions is to meditate. Learning how to meditate, although boring at first, is actually one of the most rewarding practices that a man could ever partake in. It has NUMEROUS benefits, in all areas of your life, but for the sake of this article, let’s just focus on one benefit: its ability to help cure depression.
A lot of depression is due to pent up emotions that you’ve pushed down over the years. Because you never felt them, they sneak up on you in the form of sudden sadness or anxiety. Meditation will help you release these repressed emotions (aka feel them) so that you can be free of them.
I recommend starting off by meditating for 5 minutes a day, then work your way up to 10 minutes a day, then 15, then 20, until eventually you get to 40 minutes a day. At first, you may get bored. This is fine, just power through it. Eventually, you’ll start to bring up negative emotions: fear, anger, anxiety, depression, and more. Just FEEL the emotions. Don’t judge them or try to push them down—learn how to let go.
I’ll say this again, because it’s the most important thing about meditation: don’t judge your thoughts or feelings. Just let go of the need to judge.
DO NOT judge your thoughts or feelings! The point of meditation is to become comfortable with your emotions, not to judge them. This will all be very difficult at first, trust me—when I first started off there were times where I just broke down sobbing seemingly out of nowhere, but I always felt 10x better afterwards; like a giant weight had been lifted off of my chest. This is the process of releasing repressed emotions, and it’s one of the best ways to cure depression.
This one may sound kind of dumb. “What do you mean learn to be happy, Jon?” Well, do you want to know a really terrifying secret? Most of us don’t know how to be happy.
Yup. We think we do, but we really don’t. Learning to be happy is an art that you have to cultivate; it’s a lifestyle. I could literally write an entire book on this, and I may at some point in the future, but for now here’s a few tips:
Learning to be happy is a lot about focusing on the little things, too—you don’t need to have any sort of formal ritual to enjoy life, you can just learn to take in the small details that make you happy. For example, right now, I just had a big meal of food and used some kratom. I’m feeling pretty good. Later today, I’m going to go buy a few beers and come home to finish this article.
Is it the most exciting thing in the world? Of course not, but I’m going to enjoy every second of it. I’m enjoying typing these words out right now, because I know that they’ll help a bunch of men out there; I’ll enjoy every sip of the beer or whiskey or WHATEVER it is that I buy, and I’ll relish in the slight intoxication that it gives me.
Learning to be happy is more of a mindset than it is anything else. Some people, and I’m sure you can think of a few, wouldn’t even be happy in a 5 star resort in Hawaii. They may be happy at first, but after a few days they’d be finding shit to complain about. Don’t be that guy.
Now, as I said before, the mental and the emotional are very tied together. Thus, certain exercises, such as meditation, may also help your mind. This is completely fine. It’s just easier to separate the human being into four parts, so that we can specifically attack each one to cure depression.
There are two goals for the mental sphere, if we want to cure depression:
Basically, what’s going on here, is that a lot of your old beliefs are contributing to your depression.
So, logically, if we want to cure depression, we need to get rid of these beliefs. These old beliefs may be things like “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m unattractive,” or “I’m a loser,” or some other nonsense. We can get rid of these beliefs by utilizing the two strategies above, which I discuss in-depth below
Exposing yourself to new ideas will start to weaken your old beliefs. The reason for this is that when you bombard your mind with new information, that it was NEVER exposed to before, it will naturally have to change its world-view to accommodate the information.
For example, say that you’ve always thought “I could never be rich, even if I tried.” But then, you read about the principles of the wealthy. What does this do to your belief system? Quite simply, it weakens it—because you have the keys to financial success right in front of you, you may start to wonder: “Hmm…maybe I could be rich if I tried.”
Even if it doesn’t completely shatter your paradigm, at least it’s starting to weaken it. This is all we need at first.
You can expose yourself to new ideas through several ways:
There’s a bunch of other ways, but in my opinion, these are the main three. Overall, experiencing things directly is the most powerful—however books are the most convenient, and anyone can read them.
It’s no secret that reading books is one of the best things that you could ever do; that’s why I’m always linking to books and maintaining a definitive list of the best books for men. Reading books gives you insight into another person’s reality tunnel; you get to understand how they see the world for a moment.
You get to learn lessons that they learned many years ago, you get to experience what they experienced (if only in your head), and you get to do it all from the comfort of your own home. I recommend that you read for an hour every day, but if you don’t have the time, I get that. Aim for AT LEAST 30 minutes a day. If you can’t squeeze in 30 minutes a day, you’re doing something wrong.
Interestingly enough, learning game is one of the best ways to shake up your paradigm. Why? Because girls aren’t going to sugar coat bullshit for you and soothe your little ego. If you think that doing X will work on a girl, and then you do X and she walks away, unimpressed, THERE IS NO DENYING REALITY.
Learning game (particularly as a newbie) smacks you in the face, OVER AND OVER, with the harsh truth of reality. This is why, in my opinion, it’s so incredibly valuable: it teaches you to rapidly change your beliefs, deal with uncertain situations, and to be decisive when you don’t know what the outcome will be.
Traveling is, perhaps, the best way to shift your paradigms, period. Combine this with learning game in different countries, and you’re on a-whole-nother level. Traveling shakes up your beliefs, because you’re being completely immersed in an entirely different way of life. The food is different, the value system is different, the men and women act differently, the entire culture is different—it exposes you to the idea that maybe, JUST MAYBE, your way of seeing things isn’t 100% accurate.
This is such a valuable mindset to have; the second that a man becomes too stubborn in his ways, he starts to stagnate and die. Don’t stagnate. Read books, learn game, and travel when you can. There’s a reason why I’m moving to Thailand in a year, and then moving to Vegas after that.
We all have a lot of beliefs leftover from our childhood. As I said before, it could be any number of things:
Whatever the belief may be, it’s completely horrible to have it. If we want to cure depression, we need to get rid of these old beliefs.
“But how do you expose them, Jon?”
I’ll tell you how—we look first to our minds. This is where meditating will come in very helpful. When you start to meditate, you’ll notice that a certain “theme” of thoughts always pops into your head. For example, this theme may be something like:
The common theme with these themes, however, is that they’re all wrong. Just becoming aware of them is half of the battle; most men aren’t even aware that they have these weird dysfunctional beliefs leftover from childhood.
Once you’re aware of these beliefs, you can weaken them by asking the following questions:
Hopefully this will start to dissolve your old beliefs; once you realize how foolish and ungrounded in reality they are, they will naturally disappear.
A second exercise that you can do, is now to REPLACE your old beliefs. Say for example, your old belief was “I’m so unattractive.” First, demolish the belief by using the exercise above. Second, replace it by following these steps:
For example, if you want to replace the belief with “I’m sexy as fuck,” which by the way I’ve done, it’s pretty simple. Just find as many events that back this idea up. For example:
Do you see the point? Think of the new belief as a table—the more “legs,” or supporting events that you have to hold it up, the stronger that it is. For more on beliefs, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within. It was the first book that really exposed me to the idea of selectively changing your belief system.
Here we go—time to confront our existential angst. If, as a man, you want to be happy, you MUST develop a strong sense of purpose. This purpose can be anything, such as:
I suggest reading my article on how to find your masculine purpose.
I get this question a lot, and to honest, there’s no 100% way to find your purpose, although there’s a few things you can do to help yourself along the way:
First, ask yourself: how was I hurt the most? For me, it was having a really fucked up childhood. The reason why you need to ask this, is because your greatest gift to the world arises out of the greatest wound that the world gave YOU.
In other words, if you were hurt by not having enough money to buy food as a child, your passion will likely be helping other kids afford food by donating to charities or something. If you were hurt by being bullied a lot, your passion will likely be to help other men develop the strength of will and confidence to stand up to bullies.
If you were hurt by having an absentee father, your passion will likely be to help other men grow into ideal men through a blog. If you’re an extremely sensitive individual, but can’t find a way to express your emotions, then expressing yourself through music will likely be your passion.
Another great way to discover your purpose is to have a near-death experience, or to simulate one.
Why? Well, because when we’re on our death bed, we realize what matters. I recall one night when I was in the hospital; I thought I’d had a heart attack from the steroids I was taking (long story, maybe I’ll get to it later) and ended up in the ER. I recall lying down, alone, on a hospital bed, thinking: “GOD! I’ve spent so much time worrying about stupid bullshit!”
Something about being close to death makes you realize what really matters.
Obviously you can’t really have a near death experience, though—so instead, I’d recommend doing something that terrifies you. Go bungee jumping, go on an African safari, bike across America, take a mission trip to Kenya, volunteer at your local homeless shelter…do SOMETHING to shake your life up!
Discover your purpose, which is the same as your passion by the way, is a lifelong journey; I can’t give you an exact road map to discover it, but I hope that this has helped to point you in the right direction.
In summary, if you want to cure depression, it isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of work. This road map that I’ve laid out, however, is one of the fastest ways to get you to where you want to be. Follow it to a T for the next 3 months, and you’ll be amazed at how much your life changes.
I genuinely believe that the plan I’ve laid out here is the best way to cure depression; not Zoloft or some bullshit chemical, but real, natural food, exercise, and living life as men were meant to live. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, leave them in the comments section below—I respond to all of my readers.
Anyways, I hope that you all enjoyed this, I wish you the best of luck, and I’ll see you next time.
Jon Anthony is a dating coach, fitness expert, and self-improvement guru. He dropped out of college to start Masculine Development in 2015, and has since been self-employed, helping men across the world achieve their best lives. You can best reach him on social media, or via email for questions.