08 Mar

Knowing What Keeps You Sane

Banner: Meditation at the lakeshoreWe humans are pretty good at finding the negative sides of our lives. All the little annoyances that litter our days. Those tiny angers we encounter on the road, at work,  at home.

We can’t avoid them, no matter how we try.

But that’s OK. Our brains are made that way. What makes life good is figuring out those parts that keep you afloat when everything else is dragging you down.

For me, it’s my writing. It’s my kids and spouse being happy, it’s playing games.

It’s also my health, that I work out on a regular basis, eat well, get enough sleep.

I don’t list reading, or watching movies, or wasting time “relaxing” with YouTube here because they don’t give me all that much bolstering. Instead, they serve to mask the symptoms of how bad things are until I can no longer bear masking it with my mental comfort food and have do do something about it.

But when I focus on the lifesavers, like writing, happy kids, and games, I can keep my head above the water.

When I write, I go into the story, I become someone else, I am somewhere else. Somewhere where the trials are different, where the dangers are clear, where the actions are entirely controlled by me. Writing becomes an escape, but an escape that gives me energy, and a sense of being in control.

Playing board games with my kids is another such thing. Even though I usually like heavier games, such as Through the Ages, a heavy, several hours long brain-burner of a game,  playing simple games with my kids, especially games that all of us can enjoy such as the Quacks of Quedlinburg, gives me energy.

It makes my life calmer. And it makes my kids happier. We spend positive time together.

That ensures that when I’m stressed out, when I’m having a hard time, or when they are having a bad day we can stay calm with each other. We can talk. Because we have spent the time building up that low intensity positive relationship.

That’s important. It is like building a ladder before you must climb a wall, or building a ship before the flood comes.

Finding the acts and actions that keep you whole and centered and ingraining them into habits in your daily life is the safety valve. So that when the tsunami heads your way, you won’t be overwhelmed because you will have the things that keep you sane readily available to you. That’s what’s keeping me afloat right now.

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