Anxiety and stress (almost always caused by either sensory overload or confusion with both recognising and understanding emotions) have been lifelong problems for me. So as a result of that, I have been receiving regular therapy since I was three years old in 1993.
Throughout the past few decades, my challenges with anxiety have been talked over, discovered, misunderstood, pondered over and so forth. Psychology and the understanding of life science, in general, have also come a long way in thirty years. Nowadays many of my current and recent therapists have advised me to do mindfulness exercises.
Given that this is crucially important (as I definitely need to do everything I possibly can to help control my severe meltdowns) therapists have given me several different kinds of mindfulness exercises to practice. The reason why I have been given different exercises to try is that every person is an individual and what works well for one doesn’t necessarily do so with the other. In regards to myself, from a process of trial and error, I have found a few different exercises which are positively effective for me. Details of each individual one have been talked over more thoroughly in previous blogs.
However, in addition to the issues with anxiety itself, which require me to have to do mindfulness activities in the first place, I’ve now discovered that there is another major challenge. This is because it has become evident that I need to do these exercises all the time and if I didn’t require sleep it would literally be a 24/7 job for me.
Whenever I’m asleep (as well as not dreaming) it’s not of course necessary for me to do any activities, or even to think about anything at all, for the most part. Yet during my waking life, it’s essential for me to do career work, learn to socialise, care for others, do housework, prepare meals and dress and wash. So this was a very challenging realisation for me to come to terms with. I struggled to comprehend the possibility of doing constant mindfulness exercises and all of my other daily living tasks simultaneously. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the only possible way for this to work is that I need to combine mindfulness and daily work and make these two kinds of activities the exact same thing.
In other words the realisation came to me that it’s very important for all of my mindfulness exercises to have additional benefits for my day to day living. The best place to start was for me to ponder over (and experiment through trial and error) all of the activities which are technically “work”, but they are passions which I enjoy so much that they are more rather “hobbies” in my own eyes. Each and everyone of us have our own personal passions (of topics or school subjects) which are and continue to be present, from the moment of our birth to the time when our life ends.
In my own case I like to do artwork (mainly on platforms such as Minecraft and other digital sandbox games), write material, read certain books and to learn other languages. Of course in addition to speaking in foreign tongues, learning other languages extends into coding and learning notes/chords in order to play musical instruments as well. Despite not seeming so at first glance, those three activities mentioned above are very closely related.
Mindfulness exercises, career work, uplifting leisure time and general daily living are all rolled into one constant activity for me. It’s also essential for me to say here that I’m so pleased and content that I have now (with the assistance of a few therapists) discovered the key to being able to live a more productive life, where I can use certain activities to distract my mind from many potential meltdowns. It definitely took an enormous amount of time and effort to discover which of these activities personally work best.
Nevertheless some people (including several therapists) still don’t understand, and even assume that I’m overworking myself by having to constantly do all of this activity. There are several people who misinterpret this as being a result of a performance anxiety disorder; and rather than these activities being enjoyable passions/hobbies which merely divert my mind from worries, some have mistaken me as being an overachiever.
However I purely and simply have to do all of these activities to be able to distract my mind from the never-ending roller coaster of anxiety which always attempts to knock me over. But ever since I have made this discovery of using mental distractions, I’m no longer having daily or even weekly meltdowns. Also, there have been many more moments when I have had such serenity, as well as joyful feelings about my life and the world that I live in. I’m so very pleased that I can now feel all of those things far more often.
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From my personal perspective, everybody has different genetic appearances. No two sets of eyes, mouths or any other physical features look 100% the same. This is even the case with siblings who are monozygotic. So, therefore, identifying facial expressions is just as difficult a task for me as choosing a grain of sand, and then trying to identify that after it has been randomly mixed amongst billions of others in a box is.