The day starts much like it ends.
After waking, you feel the sludge of out-sleeping your alarm and do your best to shove back the typical self-pitying thoughts: What’s the point of it all? Why am I alive? What am I working toward?
It’s not until you’re at work, living through the drudgery of another 8-hour day, that those futile voices cease…
…only to return that evening with equal force.
Eventually, though, you flick on the tube and bury your dying ambition in another episode of Game of Thrones or House of Cards.
That night, you fall asleep as fast as you can because that’s your true place of solace: nothingness.
You used to have ambition, enjoy life, and crave the challenges that stood before you.
But something changed.
And the truth is, what changed has nothing to do with who you are fundamentally — you’re still that same boy playing with sticks in the woods, throwing rocks at the nearest tree.
But how you feel has everything to do with how you’ve treated your body and your mind over the last few years.
(i.e. not good)
So here are 5 ways you can refuel your gusto and find your passion for life again, even when you wake up wondering “What’s the point of it all?”
Couch Potato Syndrome Killer #1: Hyperventilate for 3 rounds and then do some push-ups while holding your breath
“There’s nothing left to say other than ‘Breathe, Motherf*cker.’”
It’s the finishing sentence to the forward of a wonderfully insightful book, What Doesn’t Kill Us: How freezing water, extreme altitude, and environmental conditioning will renew our lost evolutionary strength.
In it, Scott Carney — skeptical journalist turned environmental conditioning zealot — teaches hyperventilation practices used by Wim Hof, who’s known for hiking snow-laden mountains during winter in nothing but swimming trunks.
And Wim Hof’s breathing technique — which is also used by Scott Carney and Laird Hamilton (the most ambitious surfer to ever live) will shake you out of your most stubborn mid-day sludge via oxygen saturation.
Here’s the technique:
- Lay on the floor and relax.
- Inhale quickly, about one second for each inhale, and don’t force your exhales — just exhale as needed. Count your breathes and do 30 or 40 breathes like this.
- At the end of your count, take a big gulp of air and hold your breathe as long as you can. Then exhale and take a half-breath and hold it for 15 seconds. This will feel amazing.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 four times.
- At the end of your fourth time, hold your breathe as usual and turn over and do as many push ups as you can while holding your breathe — you’ll be able to do more than usual because of the oxygen saturation in your body.
- Finish the practice with another half-breathe inhale and hold for 15 seconds. Now exhale and tell me you don’t feel clear-headed as hell.
Couch Potato Syndrome Killer #2: Fill the bath with cold water and try not to piss yourself
Look — I love hacking my biology.
I love testing out new ways to boost my energy levels and embrace the day with boyish vigor. I love it so much that it’s basically a hobby for me.
And of everything I’ve done, nothing quite knocks me out of a lazy stupor like cold temperatures.
You can take a cold shower, a cold bath, lay in the snow in your underwear, or whatever other unique strategy your environment allows for.
You’ll go in wanting to die (don’t ease into it, by the way, just dive the hell in) and you’ll leave feeling like a mother f*cking gladiator.
It doesn’t make a ton of sense at first glance.
But it works.
Couch Potato Syndrome Killer #3: Stare at the back of your eyelids without falling asleep
For thousands of years, gurus and religious folk have found euphoria, wisdom, and peace through meditation…
…or so they claim.
It’s only recently that meditation has become more common practice in our 21st century, with apps like Headspace and Calm turning a profit from that circle-fingered resurgence.
And that’s a good thing.
The fact is, meditation decreases stress, increases happiness, and prepares your mind for the day with decision-making clarity.
It reminds you why you’re alive, what you’re passionate about, and who you want to have been when the grim reaper lays claim on you.
With that, you’ll be off the couch in no time!
And one of the best ways (in my experience) to meditate is to close your eyes and focus your attention on the random colors and shapes you see on the back of your eyelids.
Whenever a thought tries to creep in and pull your attention away, acknowledge it and let it go.
Even ten minutes of this closed-eyed staring can make a worth-while difference in how you perceive the world.
Couch Potato Syndrome Killer #4: Pay for an exercise program
Perhaps nothing creates more depression, more dissatisfaction with life, and more couch potato syndrome then an ever expanding waistline.
It’s no secret. Is it?
Being overweight, obese, or even just out of shape kills your energy levels, your confidence, and your passion for life.
It makes you into a man that you’re not proud of. A man that gets tired after the smallest amount of exertion.
Well, the solution is simple and annoying to hear: exercise and diet.
Problem is, finding an exercise program and diet is one thing, sticking with it is quite another.
Which is why I recommend you pay a few hundred bucks or so for an entire exercise and diet program — spending money on it will motivate you to stick with it. You don’t want your money to go to waste, do you?
I recently used this hack to get back into shape and spent $300 on ThirdWayMan’s Body of a Warrior program.
You can do something similar.
Couch Potato Syndrome Killer #5: Throw a rock to knock something out of a tree
You’re a man, now.
But, really, you’re no different than the little boy that forged you — the one that ignored the word “no”, climbed trees, and laughed after scraping his elbow.
You might be a little thicker at the waste, have a deeper voice, and feel more tired than you did then, but fundamentally, you’re no different.
You’ve only learned to ignore that little boy’s inclinations for so long that they’re nothing but a whisper now.
But the urge is still there — craving to be paid attention.
So get outside, and try to knock something out of a tree with a rock. Embrace your boyish inclinations again, because that’s who you are. And embracing who you are will cure you of your mid-day blues unlike anything else.
You’re still that same boy who jumped off the swing and threw caution to the wind…
You’ve lost your passion.
And each day feels the same — meaningless, an endless drudgery toward nothing, for nothing.
But that’s not the truth.
You know it. And I know it.
The truth is that you’re the same boy who found meaning in knocking a bottle from a tree not so long ago, the same boy who found a benign sense of purpose in trading punches with your friends to see who packed the biggest bicep.
But do any of those things have intrinsic meaning?
No. Of course not.
They only have the meaning that you gave them.
And by using the above 5 strategies, you can choose to reclaim your boyish fervor, obliterate your couch potato syndrome, and do something worth living for.
Because it never was about finding your meaning, but creating it.
Mike is a writer for SUCCESS, AdWeek, and Addicted2Success. He’s been quoted on Forbes and Entrepreneur for his expertise in marketing and personal development. He’s also the owner of Get Your Gusto Back where he helps people reignite their inner fire.