20 September 2018
I don't know about you, but even though many things and people get to me on any given day, there seem to be times when everything and everyone just seems to be SoMuch, you get the feeling that even if you could punch people in the face, it would not be satisfying and they would be the same way, but talking about how you punched them in the face, and then you would feel even more angry/frustrated/stabby, and so what was the point of punching them anyway? As far as I'm concerned, physical violence is never the answer. But *if* it was socially acceptable, but didn't make you feel better, what have you accomplished? Zippo.
I actually do spend a lot of time in my brain, and much of it is spent distracting myself or convincing myself that I should just do my thing and ignore things that put me off balance. This is much easier said (thought?) than done, and my success is most of the time questionable, and occasionally satisfying. Being that just even this morning (hours, people, there have only been hours in this day so far!) I have been overcome and had to work on getting to an even keel, and that it is Three on Thursday, I thought I would share three things that I try to do that usually help and sometimes actually make a big difference. The caveat being of course, that it all varies based on time, place, person, and situation. But you knew that, right?
1. Make your brain your safe place, where you can think of what you wish you could say, do, etc. This allows me to "get it out" of my system without legal or societal consequences. Example: Yesterday in a meeting, a colleague said something to me Right There in the meeting, and because I was at work and need to keep my job regardless of how I may feel about it, I did not respond. Instead, I went into my brain and really let her have it until I was sure she would no longer be able to get out of bed in the morning. I am the only person who knew this happened, and it actually made me feel better. And slightly amused, because clearly I need help. The point I'm making here is that it worked and I was able to continue in my day and keep my job. Everybody wins.
2. Every night before I go to sleep, I do my List of Fives, and the Three Breaths:
Five things that went well/were good about the day
Five things that didn't go well/that I wished I had not done
Five things I'll try do do better the next day; then, three deep breaths in, three deep breaths out.
**Note: on a good day, there are more than five of the first, and not even five of the second.
3. Go outside yourself and make someone else's day better. Here's an example from a recent morning's walk to work: I was crossing the street, and another person crossed in front of me suddenly, and I bumped into them. At which point they said, "My dear, please be conscious of your surroundings. We nearly collided and injured one another." (They didn't say that, but I'm cleaning it up for you.) Now, in the first place, the other person cut in front of me, and in the second place, why can't you just say Excuse me, or Sorry, and move on? At that point, I decided that when I got across the street, I was going to treat myself to cup of coffee. So I got my coffee, paid for it, and was walking out the door just as another person was coming in who was carrying a bunch of stuff and had no available hands to open the door. So I held the door for her, and then also backtracked to open and hold the inner door for her, because it was no big deal and took no real additional time. She turned to me and said, "Thank you so much, it makes my day that you did such a nice thing." And I didn't think it was that big of a deal frankly, but I told her she was welcome and to have a good day, and it made me feel good to think it helped her, and I forgot about the guy who cut in front of me.
So there you have it. This is how I manage most of the time to keep myself on an even keel, which keeps me employed, out of prison, and out of the emergency room. I'm not saying it always works perfectly, or that it will work for any of you. But I do encourage you to cultivate little habits or practices that make your life and your attitude more positive overall. Even if it seems like it's a tiny thing, or something that might sound stupid if you told anyone else about it, as long as it works for you, it's good.