I have taken the idea of seeing the beginning of the year as a new start for myself at heart, allowing myself to change because of it (though not just by my own doing, having some stern, deep conversations has brought out more things to work on than I had written on any kind of ‘end of the year’ list). In all the change, I have taken it upon myself to do research daily, simply because I enjoy learning new things – to an extent that may almost seem unhealthy, something to do with feeling like I can’t learn enough, ever, and worrying about it – and because expanding my mind has turned out to be helpful in every aspect of life.
As I was googling psychology and neuroscience last weekend, I stumbled onto an article that explained how neuroscientists have found a few surefire ways to enhance our lives in relatively simple ways, so to make ourselves happier people. Being the life enhancement junkie I am, I read the article thoroughly, and then again, and then another time, and all the pointers named within it were so seemingly obvious, yet simply life-changing. And so, my Sunday evening, on which I had previously told myself I would do nothing other than watching Netflix and drinking tea, changed into an epiphanic experience, enhanced by new knowledge: exciting.
The biggest pointer of the article for me was the one in which was explained that when experiencing a negative emotion, say, for example, sadness, anger or deep fear, all you have to do is give the emotion a name, and it will lessen in intensity. Simple, right? I am the kind of person who is likely to get stuck in thought patterns that don’t benefit me in any way, shape or form, and so I go into a downwards spiral until I find myself rummaging through the kitchen cabinets looking for dark chocolate to stuff my face with because eating is a way of numbing the pain. With all the working out I’ve committed myself to, stuffing my face isn’t really a habit I care to hold onto, so getting rid of the spiral (or trying to change it so it can go upward, rather than down) is something I am mildly interested in, to say the very least.
Now, every time I find myself thinking thoughts that exude a deep sense of jealousy, or anger, or sadness, or any other kind of pain, I try to take a step back and analyse it, so I can give it a proper name (I like going for the fancier ones, because of the love for words and how I care to play with them, so I tend to put a bit more thought into it – needless to say this isn’t a necessity if you care to try it for yourself). And then I acknowledge the emotion and give it its name, only to leave it straight after that little ritual.
The nice thing about doing this is that as soon as that same emotion boils up again, because I just heard a certain song on the radio that had something to do with it, or I foolishly scrolled through Facebook for too long, all I have to do is say its name and step away again (there is no need to repeat the ritual, negativity doesn’t deserve such attention more than once, in my opinion).
It’s a way of letting things slide, of finding more time to think of beautiful things, because my mind is slowly being freed of the patterns that terrorised it in the past. It’s clearing more time for more research, also. It’s quite lovely.