Have you ever felt depleted beyond all repair? When you feel like every single person on this earth (apart from your closest friends) have been single-handedly sent down from the heavens to drive you utterly potty? For me, Saturday was definitely that day. An entire week of crossed wires and even crosser words (and at least three people disappointing me on various levels) had left me feeling completely and utterly cognitively exhausted. When I get like that I can't think beyond eating and sleeping.
What I normally do to combat this feeling is retreat into my bear cave like the grumpy bear I am - and sulk. I am very much like a boy in that aspect - I just turn any feelings I may have off and wait until I feel like I can face the world again. Woe betide you if you try to enter the cave; you'll get your hand bitten.
However I do doubt the effectiveness of this strategy for dealing with what I find problematic. So today's January Joy task allowed me to test something else. They say when things are bothering you the best thing to do is go for a walk; so I wrapped up warm and set out from my home in Southwark to Covent Garden.
One of the things I've studied is the effect that walking has on the brain. I did a dissertation all about walking - how our geography informs our psychology, and how this in turn effects our life outlook and literature. It's called psychogeography and is quite fascinating. Anyway. Did you know - when you are walking, your working memory actually functions much better than when you are standing still? Working memory is important for reasoning and learning - in a nutshell, it's how as human beings, we figure stuff out. On a very basic, evolutionary level, it meant when we were out trying to catch prey, we were encouraged to move (and thus keep up with it and better our chances of catching it) and figure our strategy out as we went. Isn't nature brilliant?
As soon as I began to walk on Waterloo Bridge (one of my favourite places to be) I had the wind in my hair and with each step things quite literally fell away from me one by one, forming into easy, step-by-step solutions to problems. I'm not by nature a logical person - I have to make a conscious effort to think in a cause-effect sort of way, rather than an emotional, reactionary way. But because I am timid and self-conscious, I will keep my feelings bottled up - leading to a feeling like I might explode! So the only way I can deal with it is to calmly and logically re-structure my thoughts, much like untangling a necklace.
Once faced with things that make you smile, it's very easy to smile in general - even at the things which have ticked you off in the past week. Arguments that have made you feel utterly exasperated and bewildered evaporate in an instant; "Oh well" you say. The very old friend that has continued to blow you out is put into context. "Never mind". The elusive job you want is no longer seen like an impossibility, but actually something that you continue to make conscious, determined and large steps towards. "I'll get there". Slowly, as you begin to reach your destination, you untangle the tapestry of worries and self conscious, self-deprecating anxieties and tuck them in the 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' box.
Slowly, imperceptibly and organically your energy levels begin to renew. The gentle perambulation has meant you arrive at your destination both mentally, physically and spiritually. And that is why the best solution to any of life problems and anxieties is to gently open your door and take one step after another til you feel better.
Did you enjoy this piece of writing? It's a little more 'creative' than what I usually write. I hope you liked it. Til next time x