The Low Down
MR. KOYA, long-time flogger of quality male resplendishments (i.e. he sells nice shirts), is all about evolution and pushing things forward. Not one to stop at donning men in fashion-forward button-up masterpieces, MR. KOYA is keen to offer resources that enable men to experience life in more positive ways. Mental health, the bugbear of many a modern man, is an issue close to the hearts of MR. KOYA and the team, so it’s time to roll up our (already quite short) sleeves and do something to help.
MR. KOYA is pleased to announce the formation of a first-of-its-kind Spiritual Advisory Board, a collection of unique and interesting inter-faith people who come at things differently, providing distinctive perspectives on what it means to be a man in the 2020s.
Since the age of the dinosaurs, men have been unwaveringly loyal to the philosophy of the Stoic: a mental framing that says they must be free from passion, and unmoved by joy or grief. Coupled with the pressure to never appear weak, it’s no surprise the state of men’s mental health is in the bin... like a sad, bruised nectarine.
Each of us must have our own spiritual advisory board – people we trust to give us advice and talk through issues with (it might include Mum, a mate, a therapist, a particular ham sandwich that makes a surprisingly good listener). MR. KOYA’s Spiritual Advisory Board aims to offer further insights and ease the strain of men’s personal mental health treks.
*MR. KOYA does not purport to be a clinical psychologist or health professional or competent in any way. These comments and resources reflect a health sampler by which one can accelerate a self-care journey. If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support, understand that help is available and not limited to the resources provided on this page. You are not alone.
Bookmark this page, share it with friends, come back to it and reference any of the resources you might need. And get in touch using the form below to share your own wisdom, your wild ideas, or your Netflix login.
Spiritual Advisory Board
MR. KOYA’s spiritual advisory board will be comprised of an eclectic mix of individuals including: an enlightened member of a much loved Aussie rock band, a clinical psychologist, a Muslim counsellor and homeless charity founder, a priest from New York with a passion for fashion sustainability, an indigenous shaman, and an Iraqi war veteran. The global search for additional members continues.
The Gender Gap is Real
Men have traditionally fallen behind women when it comes to taking care of themselves, with studies showing men are less likely to seek professional help with their mental health, and are generally less engaged and give less thought to getting their shit together – whether that’s their apartment or their minds. MR. KOYA wants men to perform at their best in all aspects of their lives, and so has collected some useful tips and resources below.
Q. I’m an atheist MR. KOYA, you can take your spiritual advisory board and shove it up your arse.
A. Call it a brain trust, mental health advisory board, fellowship of the mind, council of dropkicks, hygiene group - whatever you want, just practice self-care and maybe get a dog if you like.
Q. Alright this seems pretty cool for you MR. KOYA, but how do you set up your own spiritual advisory board?
A. Like all great DIY projects, a personal spiritual advisory board can be created in just 3 basic steps:
1. Start local, and think about those in your ecosystem who can provide upfront honesty, care, and an ear. Analyse the characteristics of your members - emotional maturity, nunchuck skillz, listening skillz, a taste for reality. Note: animals may also be members of your spiritual advisory board.
2. Chair meetings: either formally scheduled, or an ongoing dialogue with activities including anything from transcendental meditation, to gorging on BBQ chicken wings.
3. Take pride, profit, and take over the world.
*MR. KOYA is always available as a member of Spiritual Advisory Boards
I got ninety-nine problems and relationships are every one. I am so bothered. Everyone is a bloody bother. Do I just tell them to go away?
A. Creating win-win scenarios is not only the duty of international diplomats...they’re the ideal outcome of any relationship. But when it comes to the politics of it all, are you more Machiavellian, or martyr? Do you jump to conclusions like an emu looking for food? Make sure you are taking time to actively listen to the people close to you, and be open and honest with them. It’s tough, but you’ll be stronger for it.
Jealousy, insecurity, anger, bedroom bananas. These are the rotting fruits that will smell really bad if left to fester any longer. Let them out! It’ll be a sticky mess for a moment, but that’s ok - you’re human, so own it, baby! Think of really constructive ways to be open and honest when getting to the root of what’s bothering you. If you know you’re being as vulnerable and positive as possible, you might find your efforts help you realise who needs to stay, and who needs to be told to fuck off.
The best sports teams invest in help and support, and not every trainer is right for every team. Don’t fear finding the right counsellor/therapist for your team. You can start by checking out Head to Health, a resource that quite literally allows you to search for any health provider based on the concern you plug in. It’s like the Google search for mental wellbeing. MensLine Australia provide free 24/7 help, support, referrals & counselling services on whatever medium you might think of.
Q. My thoughts are hard to control. Like a bad rhythm.
Lucky for you, music is incredibly important (and a lot of it doesn’t even follow a regular rhythm - that sweet sweet syncopation). Let yourself feel your thoughts and emotions, and if it helps, associate it with a music style you’re feeling. Bust a move, dance through life (even if it feels a little out of time). However, if your symphony ever gets too loud/stressful, remember there are those to help reign it back in and look out above the noise (Check out Look Up for a great example of this sort of mind coaching). Practicing mindfulness and meditation is a positive way to strengthen the mental muscles and bring us back to right now.
Q. This all seems a bit personally self-indulgent.
A. Looking after yourself, you self-centred prick, will actually help other people.
Q. I feel like there are two of me and I’m stuck in a reactive environment. #feelsbadman
A. Carl Jung - ‘Until you can make the unconscious conscious, it will control your life and you will call it fate’. Make with that what you will. We’ve been arguing over the actionable items from it, and most of us believe guided meditation is one. Being reactive to push us into places we don’t normally want to be in, as here anger and aggression tends to take over. Know your Hulk or Mr Hyde is always there, and take him with you, but don’t give him the space to take over.
Q. I spend most of my time watching paint dry and eating Cheetos with salsa. Not really sure what I should do to take care of my health...
A. Ah it can be tough to start. Biggest way to kick your butt back into gear is by developing a daily routine and sticking with it. Include exercise in your day and think about your nutrition (we may sound a bit like Mum right now but don’t take it from us, take it from the WHO - they recommend at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily). Guess what, it’ll actually make a difference to how you think. Try to throw something you love to do in your daily mix whether it’s jamming out to ACDC or woodworking. Lastly, take drugs (i.e. coffee) in moderation.
Q. My friends are happy and seem to know exactly what they need to do to succeed, while I spend all my time flailing around online losing to actual children in Call of Duty.
A. The reality is that everyone has their own struggles and insecurities. Your mates might be worried about similar things in their lives as you are, or have gone through similar periods in their pasts. Have a chat with them openly – they might have insights you hadn’t considered.
Q. I’ve got issues in bed. Should I move to celibacy?
A. Friar robes are notoriously itchy, but if that’s what works for you then go for it. Otherwise, you’d be surprised how common sexual hiccups are for men. Maybe try and reduce external stimuli (everything in moderation boys), and don’t be shy to chat with a sexual health professional.
Q. I lie awake at night tormented by all the different shapes of pasta that exist. Orrechiette, strozzapreti, farfalle - how am I possibly supposed to keep up?
A. Pasta, along with quantum mechanics and thermodynamics is a daunting topic for any newcomer. It’s tempting to get lost in the dizzying minutiae (“why fusilli?” “how spaghetti alla chitarra?”), but at the end of the day it’s best to just put it all in your face and move on with your life.
Q. I’m choosing a new pooch to support my mind, grow my friend circle, and as an accessory to enhance my mating efforts - but I’m having doubts about what size of dog I select and what that means for my masculinity.
A. The good thing about dogs is that even a toothless Pomeranian in a pink Juicy Couture tracksuit can be a great companion, confidante, and cool dude. As the old saying goes, never judge a book by its gross bulging eyes or predilection for taking a crap in a pedestrian crossing.
And consider - if you’ve got the time, care and patience, remember rescue dogs need heroes. That extra backstory element may help elongate conversation with a potential new mate.
Q. Everytime I hear about mindfulness or meditation I want to punch someone in the face. Is it all kumbaya or what?
A. The world is humming with information, disinformation, anxiety, and uncertainty, but despite the 5G radio waves continuing their centuries-long battle against humankind’s respiratory systems, it is still possible to find perspective and bring your attention to the present moment.
It’s called mindfulness, bitches!
It’s a technique practised effectively by everyone from NBA players, dictators, large dogs, and regular dudes looking to become more self-aware, balanced, and connected to the world.
MR. KOYA, while having written thousands of peer-reviewed papers on why cats are so angry all of the time (e.g. KOYA, MR.,“Why Cats Are So Angry All Of The Time”, An Extended Look into the Behavioral Manifestations of Man’s Master, p.25-302, October, 1956), is not a practising psychologist. Even so, the precepts of mindfulness are universal, and if they were to be boiled down unprofessionally into a series of bullet points, they might look a little like this:
- Observe stuff, with curiosity
- Describe stuff, and notice the details
- Participate in stuff, considering the whole of your experience
- Focus on one stuff at a time
- Don’t judge stuff, or try to control your thoughts. Be accepting of what you’re truly experiencing, to put you in a better place to act.
There are loads of resources out there which will give you a more detailed run-down on how to achieve the heightened self-awareness of the samurai, so go and check them out.
With a million distractions bombarding your living space at the moment and forever….it can be difficult to accept the bad and the good, to be patient, and to slow down your mind a little. With practice, it will come, and as Gary Busey once said, “tranquility is courage in repose”. Stay cool, friends.
Stay cool, friends.
Q. I have a control fetish. It’s the only one of my fetishes that I seem to reveal to other people one way or the other. I don’t like the way my spouse puts toilet paper on the roll. I don’t like the way that squirrel is looking at me. I don’t know if I should have eaten that pumpkin pie. I don’t like the way I can’t control my thoughts and feelings.
Q. How do I let go of the things I can’t control?
A. Before you get to boiling point remember that, although it is over “little things”, what you’re feeling is valid. Don’t bottle them up just to create a science fair sized explosion later on. Sometimes mother culture teaches us to bottle up or drink up, distract or analyse, read self-help books or keep busy or simply take risks, so that we never confront. Instead, embrace contradictory thoughts without declaring a winner and as a result, find greater understanding. Step back from your mental gymnastics and remember that mindfulness is important (and not just for the practicing yogis in Machu Picchu). Lean in and confront.
P.S. if your spouse is bugging you… talk to it.
P.P.S. if that squirrel is bugging you… talk to it.
P.P.P.S. You really shouldn’t have eaten that pumpkin pie.
Q. What’s this rash on my inner thigh?
A. It’s probably some kind of fungus. No, really.
Q. I’m regularly bombarded with the physical standards of a classic Arnold S physique, Timothée Chalamet’s youthful charm, the timelessness of George Clooney, and the aura of Brad Pitt. How can I live up to the expectations?
A. This stuff can affect men the way it affects women, but it isn’t really addressed as frequently.
Simply put, you don’t need to live up to these expectations. As cool as these dudes are in their respective films, the reality is that they have the help of dozens of stylists to make sure every hair is in its perfect place (or if not, their friendly neighbourhood photoshoppers can do the trick). Reminding yourself that these expectations are unobtainable because they are simply not human is hard but vital. Exercising, eating well, and taking care of your body is great, but don’t forget to live your best you and leave the pretending to the professional actors and their team of make-believers.
End of the day, you’ve got villains to slay and families to save in your own way - you don’t have time to pretend.
Q. If I forget someone’s surname name after meeting them, what is the best way to obtain it without an awkward conversation?
A. Steal their mail.
Q. Sometimes I get this feeling like I’m nothing, like there’s no purpose for me in this vast expansive universe of cosmological vacuum energy.
A. You already did the hard part – you exist! As a being that has done his fair share of intergalactic traveling, MR. KOYA knows first hand that arrogance comes in denying you are a cosmic gift. Even vacuum energy behaves in a way described by Heisenberg's energy–time uncertainty principle. So how should you behave with this marvellous gift? Purpose comes from within – we’ve linked some resources below to help you find a path that’s right for you, but a great place to start is by looking into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) - a peer reviewed, psychologically proven method of supporting you in finding purpose and clarity. We’ve even done the first step for you, find out more about what ACT is here.
Q. Despite my 14 social media profiles and thousands of Myspace friends, I struggle to make meaningful social connections.
A. It’s not about having millions of followers – it’s about nurturing the connections you already have. Experience them with depth, whether with your parents, grandparents, friends, that nephew you love, that nephew you hate, the internet repairman, or the guy who stands on the corner yelling about chemtrails while smelling of yeast.
Q. How does one know if they are actually depressed? Asking for a friend…
A. Everyone wants to leave the washing up until tomorrow, but when it gets to the point that roaches have set up an entire house of parliament in your kitchen and are soon to democratically elect a leader, it might be time to seek help. There are many tell-tale signs of depression, in fact most actually have nothing to do with cockroaches. Check out this super simple checklist from Beyond Blue for a quick check on how you’ve been feeling over the past four weeks.
Q. What are frogs?
A. Frogs are a diverse and largely carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphibians, with a body plan generally characterized by a stout body, protruding eyes, cleft tongue, limbs folded underneath, and the absence of a tail in adults.
While MR. KOYA is the all seeing eye, he knows good help comes with good company. See here for our broad resource friendly page. Never forget you’re never alone.
Get in touch using the form below to share your own insights or comments on what it means to Man.
And also note, the global search for additional members to the MR. KOYA Spiritual Advisory Board continues. If you would like to elevate someone to the status of Spiritual Advisor, use this form as their pedestal.