MENTAL HEALTH PORN: [SPACE]

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SPACE MAKING FOR BUSY HEADS

If you are anything like me then your head will get very busy very quick. The volume of thoughts, questions and noise can cause somewhat of a headache; then insert yourself into a busy city that has more than enough volume of it’s own and it makes sense that you may become overwhelmed.

When I get overwhelmed, my whole being begins to shut down. Everything begins to feel numb and confusing’ I can’t order my thoughts and it makes it difficult for me to be able to get the appropriate perspective on things and take reasonable, loving actions.

Instead of turning to drugs or just sitting in my muggy haze of extra, there are certain things which have proven over time to help me re-order and clarify my thoughts.

Firstly I will discuss the things that can be done when you cannot escape the city…

  • Get a big pair of headphones and listen to something that contrasts with the busy situation you’re in. I like to listen to “Debussy” or “The Westminster Tenebrae Choir”. Both are meditative and calming. They may still be noise but it is somewhat quieter and less disturbing than the surrounding fuzz of city life. I have found this to be particularly useful on the tube where personal space is not available. It sort of creates a little bubble of theoretical space which allows for some buffering against the person eating cheese and onion crisps next to your face.

  • Reading a book has also been a useful tool. Now I don’t mean a piece of fear mongering controlling media like the metro, I mean something that will actually focus your thoughts on something productive. I pretend that the tube is like my further education time. I found particular solace last winter in reading Plato’s “Symposium and the Death of Socrates”, and I have since read Freud’s “Civilisation and it’s Discontents” and “Grinding it Out” by Ray Kroc, (The story of the guy who made Mcdonalds happen).
  • Take times (plural) in your day to find a quiet corner and get present. This may be outside a Pret a Manger, or in the doorway of a post production office in Soho. Even if you’re in the busiest parts of the city, there is always somewhere human sized for you to stand back and watch the world from. Getting present helps me to find some focus, even though all those extra thoughts still exist, focusing on me, in that moment of time, helps me to prioritise what really matters…

So you’ve made it through the day, it’s time to go home, hopefully chill out and get some rest. I have been in situations where I didn’t want to go home. This is a very unpleasant feeling and it means I really don’t get the proper rest I need. Sometimes these things are not things you can change immediately, but some are…

  • Give your room some LOVE! I have only ever lived in shared environments in London as I do not have the finances to live on my own. And this means that certain things will not be in my control. Perhaps the kitchen is a bombsight and the toilets are stinky and covered in skid marks. you can either clean them, which I have actually found pretty therapeutic at times, or, if you don’t have time, make sure your room is clean. Ultimately my room has often been the only thing I have full control over. And if it is not an environment I want to be in then I just won’t go back to it.
    So…
  • Tidy it! For me, a clean room is a cleaner space for my head. I always feel so much better when it’s done.
  • Light it well! I am a very photosensitive person, the lighting in a space matters. If it’s too grey I’ll feel miserable, if it’s too fluorescent I’ll feel like the light is beating me and if it’s just right I’ll take a deep breath and a sigh of relief. There are many different forms, tones and directions of lighting available and if you are creative with it you can make an atmosphere that suits multiple weather conditions and moods on a budget.
  • Make sure it smells good. A muggy room is like walking into a Migraine. I feel much better when i’ve opened a window and lit a candle. If you can, treat yourself to a scented candle. Even the process of seeking out different fragrances can be a loving meditative and educational experience. Different smells and how they make you feel will teach you something about yourself and could remind you of a happy memory or inspire a whole body of creative work.
  • Change the colour. If you’re room is a colour that is putting you off being there, change it. I have stayed in places where I haven’t been allowed to change it, so when I moved again this was a question I asked and a factor I considered when taking on a new room.
    Live with people who you like and work to maintain the relationships in that place. Living with people is not always easy. It took me 6 moves before I found the people I was comfortable living with and that had a room available. When I lived with people I didn’t want to be around I never wanted to go home. When I finally did find a place with housemates I was comfortable around, my room gave me space both physically and in my head. It was no longer just a prison or a hiding ground but instead a calm place for resting and focused thinking.

Finally, one of the best things I have done for my head is to look after my body both inside and out. Socrates talks about how he see’s it necessary to get past our bodily desires in order to focus on our head. One way to do this is to look after your physical health so that your body runs as smoothly as possible. Illness and injury both impact on my clarity of thought and it is especially important in the winter months to try and prevent illness as much as possible. If I get ill and the weather is bad then my head will become choc-a-block full of negative clouded thoughts…so…

  • Find out what foods are good for your head. For me this is mostly fresh vegetables, meat and grains. I avoid processed foods and things with high sugar as much as possible as these cause me to hit extreme peaks and troughs. And my are extreme enough without needing any boosters. I have also had to sacrifice some of my favourite comfort foods. White carbs are possibly the fluffiest, yummiest comfiest quick fixes in life. To me they are like a drug. But I know that if I consume too much of these then I will be lethargic and not want to do anything. If we consider depression as the opposite to vitality then it makes sense that eating foods which slow you down, can contribute to depression.
  • Exercise! This can be one of the most difficult things to do. Especially when you are hugely lacking energy. But even if I roll out of bed and do 20 press-ups, sit-ups and squats next to it I will feel more vitalised. This is particularly effective first thing in the mornings. Sometimes I almost have to beat myself out of bed to get the day started. But if I do get out of bed then I have achieved something, even if I do nothing else that day. Getting out of bed IS an ACHIEVEMENT! Give yourself a pat on the back. If you’re feeling especially proud, go for a run, outside, in nature, even if it’s raining! It’s liberating. I promise!
    All these things will balance me out, they help me to focus and ultimately improve the quality of life in my head.

So if you have a big head, try and make some space for it!

Written by Ted Rogers “Artpornblog”

xXx

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