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Mental exercises

So I worked from home today as I expected; most of my work ended up being finding data sets and finding ways to create maps with those data sets. Unfortunately it seems that Google is deprecating Google Maps Engine so I’ll have to find a replacement that we can use at work for creating ad-hoc maps.

I worked a little on breathing exercises the other day; my psychologist recommended I try a breathing exercise app. I found I had already downloaded one ((There was an article in the Washington Post recently about a mood-tracking app made by the Department of Defense for soldiers with PTSD, and this breathing exercise app was mentioned in the article and programmed by the same group.)) so I gave it a try. I wasn’t stressed when I tried the app, and felt about the same afterwards, but my psychologist said that it was good to practice just to get used to how to breathe this way.

I mentioned to her how at first I was thinking that I wouldn’t have anything to talk about and how I felt down while creating my post last night, so we spent today talking about ways I react to social anxiety. It’s funny, I wouldn’t have thought that I have social anxiety (the term makes me think of someone who can’t cope with/around crowds), but hearing it used in the context of me having trouble engaging in conversation or meeting people or putting myself into those types of situations makes sense. I always felt like I was imposing on people when I’d try to cold start a conversation with them in public. I’d often hear about women being catcalled or harassed I absolutely didn’t want to come across that way when asking someone out. When I’d start some conversation, I’d invariably end up walking through the entire conversation in my head beforehand. Once the interaction was over, I’d also end up replaying it in my head and overanalyzing what I said and their reactions.

We talked about how that fear of rejection, that fear of anxiety, how those worries hold me back, so one way to combat that is to experience it multiple times so that fear doesn’t hold as much sway over me. I mentioned how sometimes I need to conquer those types of experiences in a big way (like the first time I did karaoke at Music Midtown, for example – after that first time doing karaoke in any other situation was a piece of cake), so I need to find ways of doing something similar with my current situation.

She also actually suggested looking into pick-up artist material; we both agreed that a lot of it is actually pretty awful, but the part that I ought to look into is how to build yourself up and work up your confidence. Also, since I hate trying to sustain small-talk, she suggested I look into different Meetup groups to maybe find one where there might be other people in similar circumstances because having a group of such people together could help; I wouldn’t be faced with a diverse group of people with varying levels of confidence where I typically end up standing by myself trying to build up my confidence to join in. There’s also an episode of the podcast Invisibilia she recommended I listen to as well.

I made some chili this afternoon and put it in the slow cooker about an hour before I headed out to go to my appointment. The nice thing about planning this meal out ahead of time was that when I returned from walking home in the cold there was a warm chili-smell waiting to greet me when I walked in the door. Speaking of, I think it’s about time for dinner.

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