reverse engineering

whenever i feel a bit of shock or anxiety, i get this jolt of cold feeling through my chest. it’s an icy, terrible dread that can sometimes stop me in my tracks, leaving my mind reeling as it tries to regain purchase. when i’m caught in a torrent of negative emotion, it can be very difficult for me to escape its tide.

but lately in my meditations, a certain mobile app i’m using will ask me to think of the things i like. then to think of someone i’m grateful for. and lastly, to imagine (lightly) a warm pinprick of light in the center of my chest that slowly grows and eventually radiates throughout my entire body, as if it were being filled with sunlight.

this is the complete opposite of the physical sensation i described earlier, and i’m learning that i can generate this feeling at will. these are mental simulations, of course, but in the realm of emotion, the boundary and cause-and-effect relationship between physical feeling and mental interpretation start to get murky. i’m learning that i can use this to my advantage by simulating positive sensations for myself in order to create positive feelings. i want to create more joy for myself, so that i can share it with others, and i want to be able to reliably create it on my own rather than rely on an outside source all of the time.

today, i found myself smiling broadly to myself for the first time in a long while. it does feel a bit contrived at first, artificial because i had to consciously will it, but the fact remains that i truly appreciate the subjects that i had in mind and i believe that i generated more energy for myself from that joy than what i used in order to create (the conditions for) it in the first place.

hence… emotions can be controlled. and i won’t let them define my reality as they are only my interpretations of it.

the first step towards emotional mastery is awareness and a willingness to return my attention to the task at hand. i am learning to note irrelevant distractions that suddenly appear in my mind as thought or feeling, before smoothly returning to my exercise, doing my best to be unruffled by the internal distraction, no matter how dismaying it may be.

do i have anxiety? i’m not sure. but i know that my mind can be very good at overthinking and overanalyzing. i usually trust my mind since it helped me get this far in life, but i’m finding that it might not be as helpful or constructive to me as i had previously thought. i don’t need to make sense of everything all of the time. that’s simply impossible or too exhausting to do, and i’m quickly realizing that we have a very limited capacity for the amount of f*cks we’re able to give.

i want to be a better friend to myself, so i’ll unlearn this habit of intellectualizing everything. sometimes, i just need to let myself exist in peace, so that i’m able to give this gift to others, too.

inhale… exhale.

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