I have set up various habits, or daily rituals if you will, in order to create some routine, but also some comfort. There is nothing wrong in my life, but I expect there will be one day. There always is. I am a huge optimist in life. “Things will turn out ok” is my permanent view. I’m not daft though, things will go wrong, Hugely wrong. I can’t stop that from happening, no one can.
I decided to start putting into place the things that people recommend for good mental health before I need them. Exercise, healthy food, reducing some of the bad habits – in my case, automatically reaching for a glass of wine after a bad day – a series of hobbies which improve my skills, get me out and about and meeting people – and a habit of mindfulness practice, gentle journaling and gratitude listing.
Today I am testing it all out as we hit a bump in the road of life. Only a tiny wee one and it will be resolved quickly and we will work to make sure no permanent harm is done.
The interesting thing is that I made myself go through the rituals in the midst of dealing with the problem and they did help. I think it’s about finding some perspective outside the problem. External perspective in the gratitude list – where every day you write down three things you are grateful for, they have to be different every day, so coffee only features once a month – makes sure I realise that there was good in the day, a lot of it actually. Writing this makes it more external and much less dramatic.
Having a bit more awareness of how the brain works helped me see that a lot of the drama was about a fight or flight reaction and it takes a long while for cortisol and adrenalin to leave the body and that the brain cannot distinguish between real danger and perceived danger – it is all scary. I was also very aware that I am reacting to a situation through memories of past situations. Knowing that even when we’re in a negative situation, we are not reacting to just that situation, but everything else in our memories too, helped me put it into perspective.
It was not easy to spend some time journaling and meditating as that did not feel all that important. I didn’t wake up feeling like writing this today. It has all helped though, I feel much less dramatic in my head than usual and more able to see a way through a conundrum and somehow more confident in my decisions.
PS this is not a passive aggressive plea for attention, we are all fine and happy and ok, we just had one undesirable thing happen. And I am taking the opportunity to use that as a test bed for some of my habits. Comments on good habits are very welcome, but there is no further information on the bump in the road, it’s not important anywhere apart from in my brain!