I recently heard that mental or psychological suffering can be measured according to the distance between the actual reality of a specific situation and the desired ideal state of the same situation. I have never heard this comparison before but it struck me as a fully logical explanation that gives certain objectiveness to one’s own thoughts within the topic. Say you are unhappy about how others are leaving their dishes after themselves after a meal at the office. Your ideal and desired situation is rather that your co-workers clean after themselves and put everything in order. The divergence between these two situations is what causes your psychological suffering. The greater the perceived divergence, the greater is the suffering. You may want to tell your colleagues and make them act differently, which they may or may not do. At the end of the day however, the only person you can truly influence, is yourself. That is, you can only alter your own perspective and how you, yourself look at your surroundings. By altering your perspective on, for instance, how your colleagues are leaving the dishes in the open, you will absolve yourself of this desired state and sense a greater calmness in its stead. These days I have myself done quite a lot of meditation that I have integrated as a part of my daily morning ritual. The technique of meditating is one tool that can be used in order to unlink the connection between these two above mentioned states and thus absolve myself of my psychological suffering. There are more techniques I am sure and I will keep on working on the topic.
Nevertheless, I find it interesting and I get quite curious, do I experience any psychological suffering? I think this question is quite thought provoking, as I have not as of yet regarded it as such. Truth to the matter is that I have for a long time not been able to read much about, for instance, the outdoors. When doing so I have felt a great urge to leave many things behind and head out to explore the world. It is as simple as that. Yet I have at the same time found myself in a situation where this has appeared as not that simple. Concretely my situation has contained an ordinary 9-5 job, an apartment in the city and a bunch of routines and ideas of how things “should” be, mostly according to society. The great gap between my actual situation (my “shoulds”) and my desired situation has been very large indeed. The psychological suffering has as a result been vast. At the same time I have not on a daily basis experienced this suffering as I have avoided seeing these photos and reading the articles, which have reminded me of my greatest desires. In other words, just like the Matrix I have in a sense lived in a fabricated box. Although, and this is utterly important I am not saying that my previous life was wrong in any sense, on the opposite. But what I am emphasizing is the importance of taking note of when you feel stress or frustration in any way, as this is your inner self’s way of telling you that something is not as it very well could be.
A result of psychological suffering can be tiredness, fatigue, and energy depletion. The greater the divergence, the greater is its affect on energy levels. Ultimately I believe this is one of the causes for which one can experience a high dose of energy and positive charge while doing a long competition like an Iron-Man, while feeling tired just by doing sightseeing in a city or perhaps travel extensively catching flights and checking in at hotels. An Iron-Man should logically make you more tired than the rest. From a physical perspective it sure does, but from a psychological perspective the other options can very well be tougher. Basically, the idea of executing these trajectories is much less appealing compared to your desired objectives, such as the Iron-Man. Your psychological suffering is greater and your energy levels lower.
Initially my natural response to my own tiredness, which I have experienced from time to time when lots of things are happening is to physically and mentally rest and recover. In an immediate perspective this makes sense, perhaps a power nap, or a day off. The length depends on the amount of previous exertion. Resting too long however, and the mind too easily gets clogged with thoughts about what to do next, how it should be, and what I actually want. Rest and recover for to long and my actual energy reserves will get even lower. At the end of the day, it is not possible to rest myself out of a negative energy spiral. The trick of the book is to know when enough is enough, when to become more engaged again and reach next level of my full potential.
Through my own perspective I believe it is important to take those notes of your inner desires into account. For me this is about the great outdoors and endurance sports. Instead of pretending they do not exist, I have to embrace them and become actively engaged in them. For instance by running and doing sports. By doing so I am actively living a part of my dream, even if I am not at this very moment fulfilling my larger vision. But I am clearly moving towards that direction. By taking these actions I also bridge the gap between how it is today, and how I want it to be while, importantly, I leave the “shoulds” behind. It is essentially, the “shoulds” that drain me of energy.
In other words, if you are looking for the best way of gaining energy after a psychologically exhausting experience which is diverging from you ideas of how life is meant to be according to your inner desires, take action and do at least one thing that takes you forward. You gain energy, life becomes easier and you become more present. And I think, happier.
Thanks for reading
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