Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A new plan, again: Day 18

I woke up unhappy this morning. I sat in bed and scrolled through things on my phone, hoping to come alive. When that didn't happen I got myself up anyway and into the bathroom. I stood in front of the mirror looking at myself, not liking the view. I thought about all the things I had to do to get ready that I didn't want to do, shower, put on moisturiser for my spot-prone skin, do my beard, brush my teeth, get dressed, all seeming like an uphill struggle with weights on my back dragging me down. And all I wanted was... nothing. No wants. No desires. No motivation.

But I did climb in the shower, with my thoughts sloshing this way and that. I did use my acne-prevention facial cleanser. I did wash my beard and hair. Did foam up a drop of baby shampoo and dilute it down to clean my eyelids because they always get infected. Did wash my body with shower gel. Did climb out and towel myself dry, clean my teeth, apply moisturiser, comb my beard, put on beard oil and balm, spray deodorant, get dressed.

And then I felt like getting back in bed. But I didn't. I went to the shop for breakfast, came home, made coffee, sat at my desk, wrote.

I'm coming to see that the point of this 30 day challenge is to change my mind. To change the state of my mind. It has been set in a bad place for many years now, because I have spent such a long time believing negative thoughts about myself, agreeing with them, giving them power.

Neurons in the brain that fire together wire together, as the saying goes -- synaptic connections between nearby neurons are strengthened by use, and pathways that are followed again and again become entrenched, the related thought or emotion eventually becoming automatic.

Thus a negative assumption about the world, if it appears to correspond with reality, can become the default way of viewing all situations.

But by the very same token we can change our minds. Our default position is not set in stone. It is more like it is carved in soft clay. To shape a new route simply involves doing something different, perhaps despite it feeling wildly unnatural -- and doing it again, and again, and again. Slowly the new way of thinking is reinforced until it becomes habitual, and happens with what will seem to outsiders like effortless ease.

So, yes, I woke up unhappy this morning. But I didn't let that stop me. I got on with my life regardless, and I will do the same tomorrow, and the day after that. I am going to feel the unhappiness and do it anyway.

This method is difficult and alien and oftentimes just really shitty, but it beats the alternative.

So, do you have anything that you want to change your mind over? Start small, make sure you do it, and make sure you continue doing it. You'll be amazed at how much difference it can make.

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