Bail out mindsets and remedies

Sometimes my brain will flick a switch and bail out. Just like a wrestler tapping out of a choke hold, when my stresses build up and become too much, the brain seems to automatically hide from responsibility. It searches memories for simpler times and childhood. Sadness creeps in. The search for distraction and pleasure creeps in. It bails out of life. This happens quickly and quietly.

Inevitably when this happens, and when I take the time to look at my life, I will see a pattern emerging. Usually this “bail out” mindset happens when I haven’t looked after myself in one of three ways. Either I haven’t done any exercise in a while, I haven’t done anything artistic in a while, or I’m not sleeping enough. Or some combination of the three.

So yesterday my brain bailed out. So I ran in the afternoon….yes….endorphins! Then i went to bed early. Today I’ll try find some time to doodle on the guitar or work on the podcast….Yeah, the podcast I reckon.

Do what you can. Which is more than you think.

Buildings through different lenses

One way to view a building is through the lens of a developer. Using this lens, a building is a foundation, a frame, and finishes (interior and exterior — windows, doors, penetrations) plus the surface finishes (floors, walls, ceilings, interior doors, rest rooms, mop closets, central plant) and the HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, controls, elevator systems.

Buildings can also be linked to health and emotion. A house can be a safe space and a home full of joy, or it can be full of anger, the scene of a divorce. Creative spaces can give you a sense of freedom and purpose. Pressurized space characterized by disjunction and poor design can give you a feeling of unease – it may even make you sick.

Depending on what you want to achieve, it helps to have the right lens. For example right now I need to sort out several functional things in our old house such as the garden lawn and the crumbling driveway. Developers lens helps here. I also have to manage a big family’s needs and expectations with my own. Seeing our home as a space for emotional fulfillment, health, and personal development is perhaps the lens to use here.

Headspace

About a year ago I tried to meditate using the headspace app for a while…it didn’t really stick. I struggled to find the right time of day to use it, even though when I did manage to do it, I really liked it.

Last night I was struggling to fall asleep. My brain was over drive so I downloaded the Headspace app again and logged in to try one of their sleep meditations.

The soft voice of the narrator guided me down a river with trees on the banks and fish in the water. Within minutes I drifted off.

It seemed to make me focus on just one thing (the fish story) and that was enough to send me to sleep with headphones on my ears.

it made me want to keep my subscription and try the meditation stuff again.

Furniture

I never thought I would ever care about furniture. For my teens and twenties, furniture was just stuff to sit on or put things on…or lie on. Just stuff to use.

Now though, furniture has power. I have favourite pieces. I appreciate how things are made. I get a sort of mental clarity and peace of mind when furniture fits into a room the way I think it ought to. When it is comfortable.

I think this is born out of family growth and chaos. Like a little microcosm of the world, population explosion in my house has put pressure on resources and spaces. Furniture has become misused – a TV cabinet overrun by unicorn stickers – a lounge suite as a nappy changing station. Furniture gets in the way often – tables and chairs are moved around willy-nilly for little hands and feet to climb onto – nothing more than leverage to reach something high. Just stuff to use.

Interior design and furniture can impact your health and wellbeing. Kids don’t care, and there’s a beauty in their nonchalance, but I am becoming more and more convinced of the power that ‘things fitting into appropriate spaces for particular use-cases’ can have.

Hifi and science

On an anecdotal level, hifi music often overwhelms everything else I am doing. When I hear a song that I like, on equipment that i like, nothing else really matters. I am happy and absorbed, and ensconced in the sound.

On an evolutionary level, why do we humans enjoy music? Why do we dance? What is it about certain sounds that makes me feel like i do? What is the evolutionary function of music? Are these feelings and effects all just neural impulses? If so, to what end?

Luckily I am not the first person to think about these things. I have just come across a book that I hope will help me answer some of these questions, or at least explore some of these ideas.

They don’t teach you calendars at school

Or maybe it was just that I wasn’t listening – either way, I think this should change.

Who doesn’t know how to keep a calendar? This sounds ridiculous, but it has taken me about 10 years to understand how to use and trust my computer’s calendar. At school, timetables were dished out at the beginning of term, pinned up on walls and referred to by everyone else around me. I could always ask my parents, teachers, friends what was coming up and what was due. I could remember a lot (well, enough) of what was important without needing a reference. The net result is that I never developed the skills to keep my own time. I have never trusted my computer calendars until very recently.

When you start using a calendar though, they build upon themselves. The more you use them, the more dependent you are on them, and then the more you will trust and use them again. You are invested, and that makes the whole system work. In this way calendars are a great example for projects in general. If you want to get a project started, then just start. The mental buy-in is what matters. The same thing seems to apply to relationships, exercise, blogging, working a job, keeping healthy.

That is what no school ever taught me – the importance of mentally buying into a concept, and that you can train yourself to do it in order to get something done.

Seems to me, this mental trick in and of itself is one of the most useful things in the world.