Mindfulness and Learning

As part of my ongoing process of unfucking myself, I have been tracking data on each day, looking at my energy levels and my mood, based on a large number of factors. Key among those are how much I sleep, how much I exercise, what I eat, and my medication intake.

To that end I have discovered a few interesting things:

  • Prior to taking Adderall on a regular basis, I was definitely self-medicating with caffeinated soda. On days where I don’t do both doses, my caffeine intake spikes up in the evening, and on days where I don’t dose at all, it’s huge all day.
  • My sleep minimum should be approximately 5.5 hours, uninterrupted.
  • Mattress conditions are super-important for the health of my back — and I’ve been going about it wrong. Firmer air mattress seems to be about the best thing going right now. That means at new mattress time, I need to actually do some research before I select one, rather than go for the “firm as a board and I can afford it” route.

I’ve found that data tracking on paper is its own sort of mindfulness. It at least helps me stay aware of my habits, and helps me to better understand how my mind reacts to certain things.

If you look at my Goodreads account, you’ll notice I’ve been reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris1. It’s a book about the author’s adopting of meditation as a daily practice, and how to handle being secular (like me) and still practicing what amounts to a religious practice2.

In the past, I’ve practiced meditation, usually before undertaking a difficult physical or mental task, but I haven’t done it on a daily basis until recently. I’ve started trying to get to it daily, but I’ve been doing it largely unguided and sporadically. Based on the reading I’m doing, I need to make this a daily thing and I need to use the guidelines therein.

I need to be more mindful of myself, of my ego3, and get to a point where I can respond instead of react to things. Mindfulness like that doesn’t come from the charting of data, but from the ability to be truly self-aware4.

The more I learn about who I am now, the more I can rebuild myself into the man I want to be.

Image Credits: kaboompics.com/Creative Commons Zero (CC0).