A couple of years ago, I’d heard an interview with Tim Ferriss where he made referrence to Stanford behavioral scientist BJ Fogg. At the time, I jotted down the name in Things under “Interesting” (also like my “Someday” folder) and forgot all about it until mid-late June 2015, at which time I looked him up on YouTube and watched one of his TED Talks. I’m simplifying this for my own understanding: Dr. Fogg had devised a system called Tiny Habits, whereby we gradually acquire new habits by initially attaching them to a different action already being done. He gave one of many examples as doing a couple of push-ups after each time you have a pee. No big deal. I decided to try that particular example out, only doing five push-ups after each bathroom visit (Note: not actually doing push-ups IN the bathroom). Having spent some time going over the book Convict Conditioning, my push-up form was already pretty decent.
Throughout the month of July 2015, I increased my push-ups each week by one for each visit until, as of this week, I hit ten push-ups for each bathroom visit (no plans to go beyond ten). I hadn’t completely nerded out by keeping count of them all, but, at a conservative 30 bathroom visits per week, by my estimates, I’ve done over 1,000 push-ups (!) since the last week of June/first week of July 2015.
It’s safe to say that, for me, it worked.
If you’re up for making small, positive changes to your daily routine, Dr. Fogg is a great resource. He even has a Tiny Habits app as a starting point.
Now, how’s about me flossing daily at bedtime?
(Spoiler Alert: there is a Tiny Habit for flossing).
In addition to monthly drum and piano lessons, I have been busy with several musical projects this year. The kind of busy that keeps me out of the house most weekday evenings.
This post serves as a placeholder until I can write a proper one.
Well, shit. I sure do neglect this space.
Rehearsals with various band and projects.
I guess I should really get back to doing some writing/typing semi-regularly.
So, a little over a week ago I tweeted about how I had recently stopped taking antidepressants, after having been on ’em for the past ten-and-a-half years. Mind you, it was a very gradual taper since the previous summer, consulting with my doctor every step of the way. I wouldn’t have considered quitting these cold turkey. That would’ve been waaaay too much a shock to the system.
The first couple of days were fine, nothing too noticeable. I’d missed a couple of days in a row at least once or twice over the past decade. However, by day three and four (the first weekend), it started feeling fucking scary: waking up in the middle of the night with that anxious, sinking feeling, that had me bounding out of bed trying to calm down and figure out just what in the fuck was going on. The only way I could relax was to put on the kettle, make a mug of hot water and honey, and either pace around our condo’s hallway while listening to comedy podcasts (when I COULD listen to them), or go for a stroll around the neighbourhood in -15°C darkness.
After managing to get a few hours sleep, and it thankfully being the weekend, I did some siting meditation to attempt to ease through this transition. I totally think it helped. I’ve been trying to sit for at least 20 minutes per day since then, though the past week (March break) wasn’t as successful.
One thing that I’ve tried to avoid over the past decade was going to the interwebs to diagnose, etc. when it came mental health. I did break my own rule that first weekend by reading a site or two about coming off the same type of meds I’d been taking. It was to get a little bit of perspective in my situation; a friendly reminder that my brain had been getting some help over the past decade.
When asked by friends and associates what made me decide to go off antidepressants, I tell them that the situation in which I started taking them was no longer applicable; that I am not the same person I was ten years ago, and have a better perspective; that I have (better) coping mechanisms in place than I did ten years ago.
I also tell them that it was time that my brain did its own heavy lifting.