While 'watching' my emotions go all over the place, I've taken a greater interest into what affects my moods. Getting into that detail, first understanding that things affect my mood, was the first step - becoming mindful and aware. Why they affected my mood and what I could do about it became the next steps.
Yes, matters affect me. Economy, politics, popular culture, sports, the cats, wife, neighbors, family, community affairs, work, business, relationships, health, diet, exercise, weather, writing...man, it all seems to affect me. Some exist on that level where there is nothing I can do about it but accept and plan around it.
The weather is classic in that regard and is a great jumping off point. We're taught, trained, and socialized to respond to the weather by acknowledging that we can't do anything about it but plan around it. "Everyone complains about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it," is the classic snark response highlighting that we're powerless against it. So you look about it, think about it, accept it and plan around it, like, "Hey, it's raining, let's pass on the picnic -- unless you want to go in the rain?"
But in many other matters, we're socialized not to think about it and how these things affect us. Every once in a while, one of them pops up in the news, though.
Like diet, and the impact of diet on how you think and feel. Mothers have long observed sugar's impact on their children. People recognize how coffee and other caffeine sources affect them, and peanut allergies and lactose intolerance are wedged into our planning and thinking consciousness. Diabetes, heart disease, food alleries, and chloresterol force many people to check ingredients, shun foods and make other selections. I've learned, through thinking about eating and watching my body shape and weight, exactly how each one seems to affect me. Trials confirm my observations.
I've chosen the same tack with exercise. I've alway categorized my exercising. I have seven categories: aerobics, shape, bulk, stretching & flexibility, rehab, weight management, and prevention. As I set out my programs, I keep in mind what I'm trying to achieve when exercising and which category is being addressed. Then it all gets broken down by what body parts are being exercised within the categories, et cetera. Yes, I know, over the top convoluted, over obsessive analysis.
Taking the same approach to other matters that rile me up have helped, though. I know why I write and why I post and how writing and my writing efforts orchestrate my interactions with the rest of the world. Now I sought to understand the same about other matters, basically isolating and compartmentalizing what I heard, saw and read, and how it affected me. Part of that became observing how others respond to me, from friends, families, acquaintances and co-workers, to strangers -- and animals.
It's been a fascinating journey. Understanding these things take me off a roller coaster and put me on a race track. What's the difference? On both, you're going up and down, repeating the same course, experiencing highs and lows and external forces. But you're a strapped-in passenger in a roller coaster, hanging on for the ride. On a race track, someone has to drive, and I've decided that's me. I'm still experiencing ups and downs but now I'm learning where they're at, and I'm deciding how I'll approach them. It's still a WIP but it's been a fun ride.
I credit Redroom neighbors for awakening my awareness. I complained about computer and network issues. They responded in comments, and prompted me into actually thinking about what's happening. See, that's the magic of writing. It helps me think things out and articulate. Then the blog and Internet connections come into play, and kindred spirits, people from all over the world, read and reach out. We're a global writing tribe and we take care of one another.
Back to work. I've been processing some data updates this morning, and noticed a trend. I broke it down and charted it, and the results were eye-opening. I've sent that on to my boss before this break. The information excited him, so he's pinging me for more information about what does this mean?
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com