Several threads of thought seem to be leading in the same direction.
I was brought up to plan: to decide on a goal, then write a nice list of how to achieve that goal and to then tick off the steps. This is all supposed to be done very rationally, with no detours for interesting side trips or spontaneous excursions. Focus.
Doing pop-psychometric tests made me realise that I didn’t want to be quite as rational as I am. I don’t know whether I am naturally a rational person or whether I have just had it drummed into me so much. I enjoy being spontaneous. I like going with the flow, enjoying a quick trip out becoming an unplanned adventure. I like trying out new places or ideas because someone recommended them. I also sometimes find newness quite nerve-wracking but I know that I have to push through that anxiety in order to enjoy new people, new activities.
I need to learn to worry less. About everything. To focus on the here and now and to try and think about how I feel, rather than what I think. I need to think less and plan less.
I have had a couple of moments in the last few weeks where I’ve been happy, however momentarily. Both times I thought to myself, just enjoy it while it lasts, don’t try to analyse it or punish it or push it away. Just feel the moment and be happy to have it.
I started reading “The Mindful Way through Depression” and it starts off talking about how anxiety leads to depressive thoughts, how what should be a brief sad moment can end up with you deciding you’re a failure because you over analyse, repeat previous downward paths and think too much.
Another point that really reminded me of my father was that you can’t “problem-solve emotions”. He solves everything by turning it into a five year plan and ticking off the list. But he also doesn’t acknowledge having any emotions. You can’t plan or think your way out of feeling miserable. It doesn’t work.
If however we could learn to let those brief sad moments pass, with acknowledgement but without the analysis then they wouldn’t take us on a downward spiral.
Mindfulness is summed up as:
“the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, to things as they are.”
I had been groping towards this in reading Intuitive Eating but was not ready to focus on it in a food sense. I think I need to think about it in a much more general sense for it to have any effect but that mindfulness as a way of thinking could help me change the very behaviours that I want to change