When I observe myself, I recognize two states. The first state involves productivity, happiness, bliss, joy, peace of mind, and mental clarity. The second state involves negative thoughts and emotions, feeling down and depressed, lack of energy, lethargy, and mental fog.
As you see, both of those states involve physical, emotional, and mental symptoms. In my experience, those three components are tightly integrated. Of course, I’d like to be in the first state all the time and avoid the second state to the extent possible.
When I observe my own experience, I realize that the quality of my sleep determines in which state I will be. I’ve read in multiple resources that sleep drains the toxins out of our brains, and I can testify that. When I had a quality sleep, I feel much better mentally, emotionally, and physically.
I aim for eight hours every day. Sometimes, I feel the need for extra napping on the weekends. When I do that, I enjoy peace of mind, mental clarity, and the absence of negative thoughts and emotions. The difference is significant.
If sleep is so important, it only makes sense to let go of what interferes with it. In my experience, the biggest enemy of a long, quality, deep sleep is caffeine.
I’m addicted to delicious coffee, but I make an extra effort to keep my caffeine intake limited and early in the day. Green or white tea is a good replacement later in the day.
I’m lucky that I don’t enjoy alcohol at all. I become sluggish when I drink, and I don’t enjoy that zombie-like mental state. I enjoy staying aware and awake as much as possible, hence the inclination to drink excess coffee.
If you consume alcohol or other recreational drugs regularly and you feel lethargic, depressed, and foggy in your head, you might want to remove them from your life for thirty days and see what the effects are on your body, mind, and emotions.
Exposure to distractions like noise, TV, radio, pop music, and social media moves me from the first state to the second state. So, I try to avoid them to the extent possible.
A good cardio session in the open air changes my mental and emotional state entirely. I return home in a state of bliss after a cardio session even if I left home in a grumpy mood after a working day.
I used to enjoy weight training in the gym, but I’m in the process of giving up on that due to the lack of fresh air, fluorescent lighting, and constant, loud pop music in the background.
A spiritual practice can also help you move from the second state to the first state. I prefer the letting go method. It helps me with letting go of addictions, distractions, and other negative thoughts and emotions.
The idea is to stay with those cravings, urges, or other negative emotions without acting on them or trying to change them with other distractions. After a while, they subside. If you go through this cycle enough times, they stop bothering you.
Our modern lives test us with new challenges constantly. So, I won’t argue that you can let go of all of your negative thoughts and emotions, but it definitely helps you in reducing them to a pleasant level.
When reading this post, you might have recognized some improvement points in your daily routine to move from the second state to the first state.
You might be tempted to make all the changes in a single day. In my case, that doesn’t work.
What works for me is the 1% improvements method. That is defining where I am now, where I want to be in an ideal case, and then making baby steps toward the ideal every day.
When I observe my body, mind, and emotions, I recognize two states. The first state is energetic, peaceful, and has mental clarity. The second state is lethargic, depressed, and has mental fog.
The difference between both states is the quality of sleep, caffeine and alcohol consumption, distractions, physical exercise, and a spiritual practice like the letting go method.
I pay attention to those variables because I want to stay in the first state to the extent possible. Sometimes, I realize that I’m far from the ideal. In such, cases I’m using the 1% improvements method to make baby steps toward ideal every day.