Anyhow, this book I'm reading is a self-help title, one of those jokey titles like "How to be better" or some shit (It's called "Rewire: Change your Brain to Break Bad Habits etc etc" by Richard O'Connor), but the science underneath it is as solid as this sort of thing gets, and it never over-reaches. And there are no easy answers in it. The premise of the thing is simple: you have these automatic patterns, a sort of autopilot that you live with. This autopilot thing is programmed by all sorts of things: your infancy, your childhood, your adulthood, you, now. It does things like reach for a drink at the end of a bad day, or reach for a drink at the start of a bad day. It's what takes you to the gym or resists you going ot the gym. That sort of thing. Not just habitual stuff, but behavioral stuff and emotional stuff, how you react to a fight or flight situation, or why you get all fighty and flighty when there's no reason for it.
So, that's the premise. Now, say you want to change some of that? The answer is, it's hard, but of course you can. You just have to Live In The Now(tm) when you feel your autopilot responding. Mindfulness. That's the Big Secret.
That said, it does have a lot of practical exercises, and the author pulls no punches with his language, especially as regards clinical things like depression and schizophrenia, where he lays no claim to being able to solve those things. That he recommends the book be used along with therapy is a good indicator that he's not trying to be all Dr Oz about things.
I've been attempting mindfulness meditation ever since having some success with it vs my back pain. I'm not sure I've ever achieved an empty mind...my brain is constantly picking things up and putting them down, and while I'm allowing it to put things down, it's picking up ten more things and so I spend all of my time counting my breath and ignoring my stupid brain. If I can make it to thirty breaths without gaining focus and losing track, that's a success; I restart if I get distracted, so it's like: 1, 2, 3...crap. 1,2,3,4, elephant....crap.
In my day-to-day, I stop for a few seconds and try to feel my breathing, and just sort of exist without thinking for a bit. Derail the impulse just long enough to let my conscious mind catch up to it. Seems to help with everything from road rage to helpdesk stuff.
In the end, though, it's the same tool kit that just about everyone will recommend: explore your issues, talk to a professional, practice mindfulness and conscious decision making ("full chain awareness" is the term my analyst uses).
Those of you to whom this seems an obvious set of solutions to imaginary problems, you're correct. For you, anyway. Your individual experience may vary.
Hey, outside of my head, I've been writing at medium.com, mostly rehashing stuff that I've written here (and some I've written elsewhere). I get, oh, 30 read-thrus per article (except the one about death...that one has been read a few hundred times). It's odd, writing in a space where there are also like paid writers and known people. Hard to take myself seriously enough to do it. The platform, though, is really wonderful for writing and presenting; super easy and etc.
All that said, nothing beats the old black and white of HuSi, and I've been ridiculously neglectful of this space, and that sucks. But they say to write every day, so I'll do my damndest to include HuSi more than the other sites in the rotation.
Because other than elementary school teacher, I'd like to write. Just need to learn how to do both of those things.
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