Make Your Own Psychological Tools

Three years ago I read a book called The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels. Essentially the book is about five psychological tools they came up with to overcome certain challenges.

One example is the tool they call ‘Reversal of Denial.’ When you are trying to get yourself to do something that’s hard (like working out) you imagine the pain and discomfort you’ll feel if you do this activity as a cloud in front of you. Then yell (out loud or in your mind) ‘Bring it on!’ Walk thru the cloud and say ‘I love pain’ until you see yourself pass thru it. Then say ‘pain sets me free.’

It takes less than thirty seconds and it’s designed to turn your fear of pain into a desire for it. Basically, it helps motivate you to do the thing you know you should do.

They outline scenarios where people fall victim to pain avoidance, explain the tool and then cite examples where it helped people. The book goes on for four more tools.

I recommend this book with a caveat.

Read the book. It’s fascinating. I recommend trying out the tools to see how they feel. But if you really want to improve yourself, don’t just read the book, try to use the tools and stop. These tools are actually helpful.

But they’re not easy to remember to do all the time. In fact, in the book they talk about how the people who found success with the tools all eventually stopped using them. I know I did. I read this book, got really into it and then at some point without realizing it I forgot all about it.

So, is this book just a waste of time? Nope. It’s a blueprint.

These tools are effective, but they’re not fun or particularly memorable.

That’s why I recommend you craft your own tools. What are the things that you are more likely to remember? What will marry fun with self improvement?

Here’s a silly example of one I created:

I slouch a lot. Walking, sitting or standing with my back straight is not my default position. This constant hunching affects me physically and psychologically. So, I created a tool of my own to help me remember to stand straight up.

When I was a kid in the early 90s there was a video game called Altered Beast. I always loved that game. In every level you began as an average sized man. But as you kicked and punched your way thru the levels four purple orbs would randomly pop out. If you touched them a deep voice from nowhere would say ‘Power Up.’ And you’d get bigger and buffer. Once you got all four you became an animal (were wolf, dragon, bear, etc.).

So, now I try to envision purple orbs pop up in my way. Then I walk into them and hear the voice say ‘power up.’ I immediately stand up a little straighter and feel a little stronger.

Again, I am not telling you to copy my tool (though feel free if you want), but rather to think about constructing your own tools. It’s perfectly okay to start with one in the book and modify it. Let it evolve.

The word ‘tool’ makes it sound like a thing that is essentially not going to change, but these tools are much more malleable than that. They don’t exist outside of your own mind and the inside of your mind is not at all constrained by the laws of physics. Grow the tool, change it, mold it to something that is best for you.

Thanks, y’all!

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New Challenge, Old Solution: What’s Your Personal Lynch Pin?

I have been on a quest for just over a year now (really though, my whole life) to be more productive. The goal is to attain the descriptor ‘prolific’ because I crank out the work.

And I’m happy to say, I have seen clear markers indicating progress. Not only can I measure my bit of success by the body of work I have produced (super jazzed about), but also by the challenges I think about.

In 2015 one of the problems that took up my mental bandwidth was clutter. I don’t thrive well in clutter. Never have. But I couldn’t make myself keep thing organized. I could motivate myself every once in a while to cleaning up. I would file every loose paper, respond to every email, sort thru every drawer, etc. Life would be tidy…for a short amount of time. Once I kept things pretty neat for nearly nine days. I felt like a rockstar.

But inevitably the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics would prove itself true once again – over time organization breaks down. And I would live in clutter for months before the next spring cleaning.

I’m proud to say that while I definitely could be more organized, I’m way way better than I used to be. My clutter is relegated to specific buckets (shout out to David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’) and rarely gets to an unnerving point for very long. The difference of course is that I put more energy and effort into keeping it that way. I rarely just set something down somewhere willy nilly. Pretty much everything has a place and it goes there.

One thing I realized tonight is that in addition to the positives, becoming a more ‘prolific’ person comes with new hardships too. For example, now I’m addicted to productivity. When the numbers get low, I get anxiety and depression (old friends who’ve visited me for a myriad of reasons).

YOu know the ghosts in Pac-Man? Depression and anxiety are like my ghosts. When they happen is often a result of me doing something wrong.

I have been sick a lot lately. Nothing serious. I hurt my ankle and had to stay off it for a few days. Last week I had what seemed to be a 24 hour stomach bug. And I currently have no speaking voice and was essentially out of commission for two days. In and of themselves, they are annoying, but not severe.

However, they severely cut into my productivity. And I feel depressed about the time I lost and anxious about meeting deadlines with stuff I could have been working on during those times.

Not fun.

The good news is that the same tools that helped me to become more productive can help me with this problem as well.

I could write forever about the stuff I have learned that has helped me, but the number 1 thing – the lynch pin – was that I did not love myself. I scolded myself. I made myself feel bad about a lot of stuff. And while it’s not impossible to be productive when you live like that, it makes it a lot friggin’ harder. That I can say for certain.

Right now, I’m really not forgiving myself for losing this time. Even though it’s not really my fault, I still blame myself. And because of that, I fall into old habits and beat myself up. Loving oneself comes easy to some people, but to me it might as well be a foriegn language. I’m learning. But it’s easy to forget.

So, check in with yourself. How are you treating you? I hope it’s good. Life sure is easier when you’re feeling love from literally the closest source.

Maybe that’s not your lynchpin problem. Whatever yours is, check in with it regularly. Use the tools that have worked for you to fix it if it got off track.

Thanks, y’all!

I’m Losing Heroes and Quite Glad About It

Bill Cosby was my absolute number one hero for most of my life. When I watched ‘As Himself’ as a child I experienced an intensity of laughter I had not known possible. It was a huge source of inspiration for what would later turn into my comedy career.

One of the reasons Cosby was such a genius in my eyes is because he managed to be consistently hilarious for years while somehow keeping his content ‘wholesome.’ Like many other fans of his I saw him as clean and family oriented. He was like comedy’s Mr. Rogers. Everyone loved him.

Turns out that you don’t have to curse in your act to be evil.

Until only a few years ago he was still in my top 3 of comedic talent I looked up to. Then I found out that not only was he a deplorable sexual predator, but also that he’d been one since before I was even born.

Well, that crushed my soul.

 

Now, I’m hearing on a very regular basis how other heroes of mine (Kevin Spacey & Louis CK for example) are also sexual predators who have been getting away with it for years.

My knee jerk reaction is to want to excuse their behavior or somehow dismiss it. If that’s yours too, don’t feel bad about it. That’s just your brain not wanting to accept that something it has believed absolutely true for years (ie. ‘Kevin Spacey is someone to look up to’) is unequivically false.

The great news is that we are not our knee jerk reactions. We are human beings. Our brains are developed enough to change and adapt to new information. These men were heroes of mine. And now they’re not. And it doesn’t matter how long I’ve looked up to them.

I’m glad these men and more are being outed. It’s disgusting and abhorrent what they’ve done. And it’s equally awful if not worse that we as a society have let them get away with it, keep it secret and go on living successful lives. Ew.

I’m glad it’s ruining their careers. I am angered that there seems to be no judicial consequences for a number of these people as of yet – Cosby & Weinstein should absolutely be in jail.

Sure, it sucks when your hero falls from grace. But it’s actually a great thing. Because while ripping the bandaid of illusion off the truthful ugliness may hurt at first, it will ultimately make us stronger as a society.

I don’t want a sexual predator as a hero no matter how talented and/or prolific he is at comedy (or whatever he did). So, I applaud Hollywood for cleaning house. There are thousands of talented people who deserve the top spots in TV, movies & comedy who don’t sexually assault others. Let them be the heroes. And get this evil imposters out of there.

Thanks, y’all!

I Don’t Have to ‘Feel’ It to Do It

For most of my dating life, I dated people who made me feel a certain way. And then ultimately the feeling would diminish. When it diminished significantly (assuming the relationship was still going on) I would end things.

Now, I realize that while feelings are great, they’re not the foundation for a relationship. They might be the thing that initially gets me into liking someone, but feelings do not make a great base. Because feelings come and go. They diminish and increase.

And now I’m in a healthy relationship that usually brings me joy. Not all the time. No relationship produces joy constantly. That’s a wholly unreasonable expectation. There might be days or even weeks where I don’t ‘feel in love.’ But I know the relationship is solid and good.

So, I feel victorious in that I identified that I was obeying the whim of my feelings and then changed my behavior. And my relationship along with my overall life is much better for it.

Then today I realized there’s a parallel for this lesson elsewhere in my life: creativity.

I mostly create art when I feel like it. When inspiration hits me, I write down whatever it is and then I start to create.

If I have to go do something then I leave that idea there with full intent to get back to it and finish it. But what almost always happens is that when I am logistically able to get back to it, that feeling might not be there. So, I abandon it in hopes I’ll get back to it when I feel like it.

And that’s why I have literally thousands of ideas in different stages sitting on word documents incomplete.

In much the same way that I don’t end my relationship just because I don’t always ‘feel’ it, I am now trying to not abandon a creative project simply because I don’t ‘feel’ that same drive and inspiration I had when I first started it.

I don’t feel creative today. But today is the one day I have off to finish the rough draft of a pilot I’m writing. So, I’m going to stop writing this blog post, get over the fact that I don’t ‘feel’ inspired and get to work.

Anyone can be creative when they’re inspired. Professionals create whether the inspiration is there or not. Okay, back to work.

Thanks, y’all!

Sprint the Straights & Jog the Curves

In high school I acted in a role that was unequivocally the toughest acting assignment I’ve ever had to this day. Through my junior year I competed in at least one if not several sports. I acted the role of ‘athlete.’ What’s the opposite of ‘gifted?’

It would be an understatement to say I was ‘not good’ at sports. I was pretty terrible, actually. The funny thing is that I do have one athletic attribute going for me. I was a decent sprinter. As long as there were no hurdles in the way and the path was both short and straight, I could run relatively fast (fastest I was ever timed was 100 meters in 11 seconds flat).

However, three other guys on the team were superior sprinters to me. If I’d gone to a smaller school, maybe I could have competed, but not where I went. So they threw me in with the distance runners. Why? Because they’d rather have a warm body run the race than not fill all three spots for each event. And we didn’t have a lot of distance runners, so I got to run both the two mile and mile for the JV team.

Distance running was nice in that I got into a bit better shape because of all the practices. But I was the slowest on the team. I remember the one – literally only one – time I didn’t come in dead last. I came in 2nd to last and that was a very proud moment.

I hated track practice. It was just calisthenics, running, jumping and stretching. I didn’t care for any of that. But there was one exercise we did that I actually enjoyed. On our oval track there were 200 meters of curves and 200 meters of straights (like an Olympic track). So, we would have to do 1600 meters (4 laps) where we went all out hard sprints each time we hit the straights. And then we were to half speed (jog) the curves.

Some of the guys hated this, because they were just sprinters and had no endurance to go that hard that many times in a short period. And a lot of the distance guys didn’t like the varied paces. Distance runners go at a quick pace, but they don’t consistently shift from jogging to sprinting very much at all. But for me, this exercise perfectly fit my weird mix of some endurance and some ability to sprint.

After I graduated high school, I would go back to that track sometimes and make a workout of the same exercise. And I remember it felt great – well, as great as exercise can feel. When are they gonna invent a pill that does the work for us? Anyway…

Why am I telling you this story? Other than the fact that I’m in love with the sound of my own voice – two reasons.

1. Sometimes the thing we respond to is ‘weird’ to other people. Go for it anyway.

I wasn’t good at most of track. But there was one thing that fit me and I still use it as part of my workouts to this day. Don’t shy away from the ‘weird’ thing. It might work better for you than anything else.

2. I think all of my endurance (mental, emotional & physical) might respond the same way.

I am a very overcommitted/spread thin kinda guy. Always have been. I take on too much and I follow thru with a good percentage of it, so I’m regularly busy.

Last night I stayed up pretty late to finish a personal project. And today I had planned to be incredibly productive after sleeping in a bit.

I slept til 11AM and then it was off to the races. I worked in one form or another minute by minute on various projects/upkeep. By 3:45, I was so drained. The idea of mentally focusing on another thing and another overwhelmed me. And I had to stop.

When I fail to do what I set out to do, I get either mad at myself or bummed out. And it’s never pleasant.

Fortunately, I was able to be okay with it after a while, because I convinced myself that I needed it. Then, randomly, I remembered the story I began this post with. And it donned on me that my productivity might be at its best when I ‘sprint the straights and jog the curves.’

In other words, there are some days where I will try to buckle down and get stuff done. But peppered amongst those will be days that I intentionally plan to do a little work, but then force myself to relax and do something I want to do (hang with a friend, read a book, watch TV, blog, play guitar, video games, etc.).

So, I’m going to only put the bare essentials on my to do list for tomorrow, because I know that I’ll be more apt to get stuff done on Thursday and/or Friday if I give myself a light day tomorrow.

Hopefully, this experiment will work and I can increase my productivity by also increasing my personal enjoyment of life.

Thanks, y’all!

Trying to Be a Hero to Myself

It’s 10:11PM and I am determined to stay up as late as I need to in order to accomplish a few tasks that have been hanging over me for a long time.

Why? Because I am at my wits end with myself. Every time I look at certain action items I need to accomplish and move them to a future date rather than cross them off is killing me inside.

When I was a kid, I took piano lessons. I didn’t practice very much, but I wasn’t horrible. My teacher had me go thru these song books. Once she felt I mastered a song, we’d move onto the next one. There was this one song that took me six weeks to master. And the only reason I did was because on week six it donned on her that I’d been stuck on this same easy song in one of the books for way longer than the difficulty of the song merited.

So, she looked at me and said, “Play this song right and be done with it.”

Looking back, I don’t know if she was a great teacher or not, but that was a great moment. And I recently remembered it for whatever reason.

The task I’ve been prolonging is almost as ironic as it gets. I’m creating a new organization system that will theoretically help streamline my work flow so that I get things done sooner and maximize my time better.

But I’ve been in the changeover process for at least six weeks if not longer (probably longer). It’s a lot of work. The system I’m using is one I created based off some of David Allen’s method and some of the ideas I’ve heard from other names in the self help/organization movement.

It’s quite embarrassing to write this on the internet, but I’m doing so in the hopes that it will help me get it done.

I don’t have to be up tomorrow morning. So, I’m going to stay up as late as it takes and then sleep in as late as I need to. The most healthy plan in the world? Well, no. But it’s also unhealthy to self hate because you’ve let a project fall into limbo that you really want to be done with.

Rather, tomorrow I would love to remember tonight as a time I stepped up and got rid of a stressor. I’m trying to be a hero to myself. That’s what’s giving me the where with all to think that I can stay up all night like a college student. It’s time to slay the metaphorical dragon that is this task (don’t confuse the metaphor, because I love dragons and would never intentionally slay a real one if they existed).

Wish me luck. Or berate me for incompetence. Either way, tomorrow I will not have to look at ‘Get this document organized’ again.

Thanks, y’all!

Choose How You Walk Down the Hallway or Control What You Can As Best You Can

You ever notice you’re walking down a hallway that you walk down on a regular basis? Maybe a hallway at an office or one in your apt. building. Maybe instead of a hallway, it’s a street or a sidewalk. Whatever it is, it’s a place where you’re doing little more than simply commuting.

And what’s worse is that at the end of that walkway is some place and/or task that you’re not excited about. So, while you’re traversing this hallway you’re not doing anything particularly interesting or worthwhile with you’re time and when you’re finished commuting you’ll be doing something you like even less?

The ‘epiphany’ I had while walking down this hallway today is essentially the same lesson I’ve learned many many times before: Control what you can as best you can.

But something about this hallway made it click in a way I hadn’t realized before. Or if I had realized it, I forgot. I have to relearn life lessons just as often as I have to relearn the name of the actress who plays Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones (Lena Headey).

I need to walk down this hallway. Can’t control the fact that I can’t be playing video games, writing, spending time with loved ones, etc. (ie. stuff I want to do). But what I can control is how I walk down this hallway. And it’s way more fun to put a little spring in my step. Play a song in my mind. Move my shoulders differently for no reason.

When you’re creative and you realize you do have freedom to try things, then try stuff. How can this walk down this hallway be a better experience than it is?

So, the next time you find you’re commuting to a place you don’t want to go, do something to make your walk more fun. You deserve it.

Thanks, y’all!

What’s Your Silly Voice?

Ever since I can remember, I have mimicked other people’s voices. I remember trying to sound like Darth Vader and Kermit the frog when I was four.

As I got older I discovered that beyond impressions, I could just manifest an original silly voice at will. And it’s one of my favorite things to do.

If you didn’t know me well, but heard my side of a conversation with a close friend when I’m feeling very safe, you might think I have a mental disorder. I rarely jump in and out of voices around strangers or people I don’t know well, because I know it can be annoying.

But usually, it’s an indicator that I feel safe, content and joyous.

So, it donned on me today, what if that works in reverse?

In other words, if I’m not feeling super joyful, energetic, calm, safe, etc. what if I slip into random silly voices and see if it alters my mood toward those adjectives that I prefer so much?

Guess what? It kinda does.

I got home late. Hadn’t eaten all day. First thing I did was put away the groceries. Then I walked the dog. Then I filled his water and food. Hadn’t eaten in hours. Just wanted to put food in my mouth. But I had a number of emails I needed to return and I know myself well enough to know that I cannot enjoy even the finest of meals that late at night if I know I have impending crap to do before I go to bed.

So, I said, “Let’s answer some emails” in a very silly Tigger-esque voice just as I sat down at my computer. And I’ll be damned. My mood shifted. I was still hungry and tired, but my energy level spiked, I sat up, I read and typed with a small, but noticeable spring in my metaphorical step.

I turn 36 in eleven days and I just realized that something I’ve done literally my whole life could be a key to helping me crack out of a temporary haze of depression or anxiety.

How freakin’ cool is that?!?!?

So, my question to you is, ‘what’s your silly voice?’ Do you have something, maybe something you do or used to do all the time, that could possibly boost your happiness instantly? Ask yourself, is there something you do when you’re around your favorite people doing an activity you love? Could be something as simple as how you do your hair, how you dress, something you say, etc.

What do you have that can be your equivalent of a happy shot? It’s worth taking the time to look for it.

Thanks, y’all!

Acceptance, Crying & Puppy Presence

I learned a lesson from my dog today. I should clarify, she’s not technically my dog, particularly anymore. Me and my ex-girlfriend got her (Maggie) in the spring of 2014, but we broke up and I moved out July 2016. I moved to an apartment in the same building mostly because I wanted to still have a relationship with Maggie and I knew if I even lived as far away as a few blocks, life would make it terribly difficult to see her regularly.

In the year since I moved into this new apt. in the same building, I have seen a lot of Maggie. I was mostly working nights and weekends and my ex mostly works weekdays so we had a mutually beneficial relationship. I would come get Maggie weekday mornings, keep her til around 5 or so and drop her off before my ex got home.

Randomly, she would ask me to watch her more when she was busy or out of town. And whenever I had a truly free night at home (rare) my ex was kind enough to let Maggie stay over.

It was fairly perfect, to be honest. My life is too hectic to take care of a dog full time and my finances are such that I can’t afford to pay for help. So, my ex and I tag teamed the dog responsibilities and it was good.

Then two things happened. One, my financial situation worsened to where I needed to take on another job. So, I did. And it works me during the day time. Not ever week day, but so far, many of them. This has cut my time with her dramatically these last three weeks as I have been in training.

The second, was that my girlfriend who had moved in with me in May got a dog of her own. Her previous dog sadly passed away last fall and it’s taken her time to get to the point where she could logistically get another dog. The perfect circumstances aligned so that she could get one.

Trouble with the last one is that Maggie doesn’t not play well with other dogs. She was a rescue found on the streets malnourished, pregnant and scared. Not sure what all happened, but despite 5 different professional dog trainers and a lot of in home training, she loses her mind when another dog is around.

I thought she could still come over and I would simply shut Westley (Ryan’s new dog) in the bedroom. It’s a big room and he’s small. But my ex is not okay with it. I get it. It’s very problematic.

So, now I only get to see Maggie when I walk her in the afternoons. And because of my work schedule, that won’t be more than one or two days a week at best. Basically, where I used to see her often, I will now get to see her rarely and for very small doses.

When I found out about this last Saturday I cried harder than I can ever remember crying at all. The sadness is a bit overwhelming. Today was the first day I had seen her since Saturday and I full on ugly cried four times when I was with her. That’s a lot for me.

I rarely cry. And not just because I’m a man in a society that still stigmatizes that as a bad thing. While I’m sure that plays a part, the main reason I don’t cry I believe is because of my depression. I’m pretty much always a little sad. It makes me numb to sadness similarly to how people with tinnitus always hear a low hum ringing in their ear.

The way to get me to cry is to spike my sadness to extreme levels. Knowing my time with my dog is now super limited spiked them terribly badly. I’ve never had a child, so I can’t know if this feeling even comes close, but Maggie feels like a part of me spiritually speaking. And not seeing her makes me feel incomplete.

The good news…

From the moment I walked in my ex’s apt. Maggie did not cry. Can dogs cry? Anyway, she never seemed sad. She was just living perfectly in the moment happy to see me. And I know that I can get to that point myself. The sadness is temporary. I need to learn from my puppy and accept that this is how it is.

Once acceptance happens and grieving ends, that’s when we can enjoy what we have.

Here’s what I have:

I still have access to my dog sometimes. That’s more than a lot of people can say who lost their dog when the relationship stopped. Some people never see them again. And even though my time is limited, it still exists.

Also, I have Westley. He’ll NEVER replace Maggie. No dog ever could. But he’s a great dog. And he already loves me as I already love him. So, now I have two dogs that I love.

Lastly, I have the lessons that Maggie has taught me. She lives in the moment. She loves unconditionally. She reminded me what it was like to truly open my heart. And I can be a bit closed off at times. So, that lesson is terribly valuable.

Since writing this post I’ve added three my tallies to my ugly cries, but that’s okay. It’s part of the process. I will grow stronger from this experience.

Thanks, y’all.

3 Lessons I Just Learned From Pain

Yesterday I felt a ping in my back. It didn’t hurt so much, but there was some pressure in a spot that was not normal. It morphed into a pain that has hurt quite a bit. Sleeping was awful. And I woke up hurting like the Dickens.

I have no idea what caused it, by the way. It just started when I was on stage for a class show doing nothing close to strenuous.

After some medicine, a heat pack and an ice pick it still hurts, but it’s not super horrendous. Though I would MUCH prefer to not experience it in any way, shape or form.

Now, I could feel very defeated by all this and just play video games all day. And I did for a while. I will likely play more later too, because it does help me relax. But instead of letting a whole day go by without moving, I put on some jammie pants (never called them that before this moment), hat & sunglasses and took myself for a walk.

Walking doesn’t seem to exacerbate the problem. But the sunlight was very much needed.

Also, I’ve been working on a creative project all day that I’m trying to finish by Thursday. Nothing wrong with extending the deadline. It’s self imposed. And I know I would give me an extension if I really needed it. But I can sit and type. And part of what I need to do involves that very thing. So, I’ve been at work for an hour so far. When I finish this post, I’ll go back to it.

My point for saying all this? I’m proud of myself for learning a lesson amidst the pain making me feel empowered rather than just succumbing to the pain and feeling defeated.

The main lesson: Pain is temporary

I’m currently broke. And it stresses me out. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the stress was a contributor to this back pain. The stress is a lot. I used to make more than enough money to live my meager existence. Currently, I don’t really.

And when I was thinking about this pain I realized that it’s highly likely to be temporary. Whatever’s wrong will almost assuredly heal at some point. Often times I can get tunnel vision. I’m like a baby in that I don’t realize that pain goes away. But after realizing that, I noted that my financial situation is a form of pain too.

And that means, I can look at it like something that will heal. And while that realization doesn’t completely void my stress it does help.

That’s huge!

What else did I learn? That when I have a problem that is clearly causing me to focus on it and not open myself up to the universe for potential solutions that I have to force myself to calm down and do something. I made myself go for a walk to get some sun on me. I knew it would bring me some Zen if I just got the blood flowing and let the sun’s heat on my skin.

While I was out there, I thought I’d take a selfie and tell Facebook what was going on. I just thought it was funny given what I looked like (see pic above).

Here’s the caption:

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 3.38.34 PM.png

Just now noticing the typo. Anyway, guess what happened next?

A good friend of mine who has medical knowledge is going to come over and help me stretch and stuff.

So, I might get rid of or significantly reduce this pain today because I made a choice to do something. I took myself for a walk. And that led to a series of events that may result in me getting healed.

Summary of this lesson: Don’t forget to do something for yourself when you’re in pain

And there’s even a third lesson.

See, it hurts when I breathe because this pain is exacerbated by expanding my ribs/chest. So, every breath hurt. But then I remembered that when I meditate I actively try to breathe thru my stomach.

It took a minute to figure out how, but I am now mainly breathing with my gut. It still stretches my ribs some, but not as much. However, I don’t breathe that way in consciously.

Summary of this lesson: Don’t forget to be mindful of your breathing when you’re in pain

That’s it for me. I appreciate all the well wishes on social media.

Thanks, y’all!