Rewiring My Brain: Focus on the Positive!

Today I learned a potentially-valuable tip: every day, reflect on 3 good things that happened. According to this article about the ‘Tetris Effect’, over time the brain will learn to focus on and remember more positive experiences, helping one to feel happier. I figure, it certainly can’t hurt, right?

  1. Steph’s Soapbox re-blogged my post: FUDGE THAT!!! – mmm, fudge? don’t mind if I do …. This is the first time one of my posts has been re-blogged; I consider it quite an honor. I put a lot of thought, effort, and planning into that post – and it most certainly paid off! I feel like I’m becoming a better writer every day.

  2. I had a very enjoyable class. We got to talk to the author of one of our textbooks via Skype! He told us a very interesting and engaging story. I felt like I was able to learn a lot from the class, and contribute to it in a meaningful way. I got to enjoy this experience because I persevered in my (eventually successful) attempts to get out the door, even though I was running late. Again, the effort was well worth it.

  3. I had fun playing with my rats! They’re so cute, especially when they put their noses up to mine. 😀

Maybe Sleeping 8 Hours a Night is My Key to Success

Today (Thursday) was a good day. I turned off my computer around 1:00 am and started reading Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. After reading a couple chapters and doing the first written activity, I went to bed around 2:30 am. I didn’t sleep particularly well, but I did sleep until about 11:00 am – over 8 hours. Then I got up and started my day, including: feeding rats, having breakfast, emailing the instructor for the class I missed on Tuesday, defining “codependency” for myself, and calling on-campus psychological services.

I was even able to juggle baking stuffed Cornish hens for the first time ever (stuffing them was kind of awesome!) with getting ready for class. I took a very quick shower and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The water hitting my skin felt more amazing than it ever has before!

I was on task, cleaning up after my cooking and getting dressed more quickly and easily than usual. I devoured about a third of a stuffed Cornish hen, savoring even the white meat! I usually find white meat to be too dry, but this was glorious, tender and moist. I was exceedingly pleased.

I packed up the hens in the fridge and ran out, hoping that I might still manage to be on time for class despite the traffic I anticipated hitting. As I drove I reflected on the day and all the awesome things I had accomplished – and how much I enjoyed doing it! I even found pleasure in handling something as gross as raw poultry!

I was just thinking that, after everything I’d done, maybe being late for class wouldn’t be so bad …

When my car suddenly started making a very strange and ominous noise. It was loud and low pitched and kept repeating, like a wide heavy leather flap on a conveyor belt kept hitting something. It became louder and more frequent when I accelerated.

At first I thought I had hit a nail or something and damaged a tire, but when I checked my tires were fine. I looked under the car but didn’t see anything hanging down. If I opened my hood I’d be proud of myself for finding the place where you put windshield wiper fluid; the only way I’d be able to tell what was wrong with the engine is if a fuzzy purple creature hissed at me from atop its nest and eggs. Then, I think I’d have more problems with my car than an ominous noise! (And I’d probably still need to ask someone else for help.)

Ziya's Understanding of Car Engines

Ziya’s Understanding of Car Engines

So I called a tow truck and proceeded to WAIT. I called Mom and Fox. I alternated between running the car for warmth and sitting in the cold to preserve gas. Of course, my phone took that opportunity to complain about low battery, so I took the opportunity to charge it when the car was running. And I wrote this blog post by hand in my school notebook.

When the tow truck finally came and I sat in its passenger seat, watching my car get hooked up onto the bed, that is when I felt sad about what was happening. I was disappointed from the moment I realized I was going to miss class, but I accepted it very quickly. It was a little bit harder to accept and allow myself to feel my sadness about my car needing to be towed somewhere. The Dark Horse (images; explanation) whinnied and shook its head and reared and stomped in the dirt. And snorted. Visualizing the Dark Horse doing those things gave me a safe outlet for my feelings.

Finally, over three hours after first hearing the noise, I arrived at Mom’s house safe and sound; the car is at a shop nearby. The person at the shop said they’d look at the car first thing in the morning. There is a plastic piece hanging down in front that I hadn’t seen when I’d first checked. I hope that’s the (only) problem, and that it can be fixed easily, inexpensively, and quickly!

I was inconvenienced, but suffered no harm. In the realm of what could happen on the road, I consider myself fortunate.

And I handled the whole situation very well. There were brief moments when I doubted my decision to get a tow truck; I thought I was “making a big deal out of nothing” and using the first opportunity that presented itself to avoid having to go to class. But I reminded myself that I didn’t know what was going on and I would rather be safe than risk doing catastrophic damage to my car! I made a decision and defended my right to stick to it despite the doubts that arose; it might not have been the best decision, but that’s okay too. I made it, I followed through, and I am safe. No disasters.

I really think getting the amount of sleep I need, even if it wasn’t the best quality, set me up to have a good day. I was able to direct and focus my energy, accomplish most of my goals, and handle a very stressful situation with grace. I wasn’t dependent on the events of the day or others’ behavior to feel good about myself – at least, not to the degree that has been my norm. This is definitely a habit worth developing.