It turns out this new habit I picked up a few months ago as a means of stress relief is good for so much more than shutting down my own inner monologue.
Now, I’m good at it. Most days I can take my seat and close my eyes and slip right into a meditative state without thinking about it too much. It’s something I really look forward to, and something I truly welcome when it happens. I figure this is what going back to my favorite sports bar post-pandemic will be like, but better.
I didn’t realize it until recently, but all of this practice focusing on my breathing has made me much better at concentrating on the rest of my life. I used to lose every little object the second I put it down; now, I always remember exactly where my keys, phone, and remotes are. I no longer lose track of what I’m counting or measuring. Best of all, I find it much easier to contentedly focus on a single task and complete it. What I’d come to think of as my “IT brain” because of how I’ve been trained by a decade of tech support has finally stopped ping-ponging around trying to solve eighteen different problems at once. It’s nice. I don’t miss that mental cacophony one bit.
Having a clear(er) slate from which to work also leads to a better understanding of where I’m at. I’ve learned that I’m naturally an optimistic, happy person. It’s all the dumb assholes who turn me into a pissy curmudgeon. Which means, really, that I need to be a lot less concerned with the dumb assholes.
I’ve also gotten into guided meditations through the Calm app. I’ve learned a lot from the small suggestions the guides make along the way. Typically these end with a quick bit of commentary on life or mental health that are surprisingly relatable and thought-provoking. It’s more interesting than I thought it would be. I like this stuff enough that I’m thinking about going on some sort of retreat when that’s safe to do again.
Best of all, I know I have a reliable tool I can reach for when I need to calm myself down or figure out how to focus.