A Wade Lowe creation – The annoying thing about shitty days is they are shitty. The more annoying thing about shitty days is most of the time they are preventable and reside in my head.
I had one of those days recently. I felt it building for about a week, but because I was so busy, I ignored it and fought it off. I knew very well that was only a temporary solution and as expected, right on cue, my body indicator was triggered. My indicator happens to be a very slight, unnoticeable to the observer, but incredibly noticeable to me, twitch in my lower left eye lid. No joke. It’s as annoying as it sounds.
When I get out of balance, or more appropriately, out of harmony, I start to have a physical and psychological reaction. First, I start noticing I’m thinking too much, either about the past or the future. Second, I start to notice a general since of uneasiness and normally for nothing in particular, like the world is coming to end shortly. Third, I get distracted, tired and irritated about little things and have a hard time paying attention to things I don’t deem important. Lastly, if I haven’t addressed it before then, I get that annoying-and-ever-present-reminder-that-I’m-a-little-crazy twitch in my eye. Look, I realize I’m a bit crazy, but at least I know it. Knowing it is half the battle. The more important half, however, is what to do about it.
A short history on me. For nearly as long as I can remember, I’ve been moody. Not sure why, it’s just the way it was. In college “fun Wade” was called Wade and “grumpy Wade” was called Spade. I had two other nicknames but this is a PG-13 blog so I’ll omit those for now. I was diagnosed as clinically depressed when I first got sober. Shocker. Who wouldn’t be depressed when they realized they couldn’t ever drink or do other things again. Kidding. Kind of. I took medication for a little while, but I didn’t like it and long ago stopped needing it as I’ve found other ways to cope. I still get in moods (you can ask my angel of a wife), but they are less intense and much shorter in duration, but they still come.
This is something I’ve been dealing with for a long time, but I’ve found an answer and thought it might be of value to other people who deal with the same thing. I’m much more aware and attune of my internal workings now. I notice things building in advance and I’m in very productive daily habits / practices that I consider to be preventative medicine. Do I wish I didn’t have to do these things to be “normal”? Sometimes. But normal sucks. Because of these things I do, I’m rewarded heavily for it, primarily in that I like who I am today and I’m a much better person than I would have been otherwise. Fair trade.
So what’s the point? The point is I realized that I, not my circumstances or environment, determine my state of mind / being. If I do these simple and basic activities, my life seems to work more harmoniously. If I don’t, I get the opposite effect and it nearly always results in an eye twitch which is the not so fun part of crazy. Every time the not so fun part of crazy returns, I do what I call “getting back to the basics.”
7 Basic Daily Practices to Keep Crazy at Bay
- Meditate – 20 minutes every morning. Want to see crazy? Sit for 20 minutes in silence with your eyes closed and watch your thoughts. Our brains are active little monkeys and they love to latch on to things. Don’t attach, just watch. My first visits to my brain were bonkers so don’t be surprised if that happens to you. Just keep practicing. It will change your life.
- Write – I try and write for 15-20 minutes every morning. Primarily I focus on how I feel at the moment and then write my intentions for the day. It helps get me focused and organized for the day. Here’s a fun exercise. Take a blank piece of paper and just start writing. For 20 minutes just write without stopping. Take a 10 minute break and then do it again. Just let it be a stream of consciousness. Pay attention to the common themes, they mean something.
- Help Someone – It doesn’t matter who or how, but I try to every day. Even simple acts of holding the door for someone counts. This activity allows me to constantly be looking for ways to be of service, which means I’m not thinking about myself. The less I think about myself, the more harmonious my life gets. I heard a relevant quote once that went something like this: “I may not be much, but I’m all I think about.”
- Listen / Love my Wife – This would seem obvious to most people I’m sure, but it’s not in my nature to listen and act lovingly all the time. I had to realize marriage is not a business and thus should not be treated as such. Am I perfect at this? No. Am I better than I used to be? Yes. By doing this, it strengthens our relationship and once again, helps me get out of myself.
- Exercise – I exercise way more for head than for body. I go through fazes of different exercises, whether it be running, yoga or surfing, but regardless of the activity I’m consistent about it. I know there is all kinds of data and research to validate the value of exercise, but I don’t have any at hand, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
- 1 Hour of Personal Development – This activity is relatively new for me and started in 2013. It’s been extremely helpful as I’ve begun trading out thoughts and beliefs that don’t serve me and replacing them with things I’ve learned that ring “true” to me. Some of my favorite places are LinkedIn articles written by their stable of successful people in their fields, audio books I listen to while I run, TED Talks and a variety of positive and inspiring blogs.
- A Moment of Awe and Wonder – I wrote about this in my last blog post, but in case you missed it you can find it here.
This is my list, and it not intended to be your list. Yours will be different, I’m sure. The key is to find what works for you and then do it consistently for… well, forever I suppose, less you find yourself with a twitch in your eye!!
Lastly, I’m not a doctor, and I’m not recommending any of this over prescribed medication if you’re taking it. However, this is what has worked for me and I hope you find something that works for you.