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Bouncing back

Permanent Linkby Ada on Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:55 pm

Today was about 50 hours long, but some those hours were small-time happy and overall it was productive. I got some cooking done, some long-overdue gardening, some freelance work and got well underway with other voluntary work.

What's the secret? A random chance. I was reading in the Sexual Addiction forum, and came across some links about porn addiction which seemed like an intriguing topic to read about for an evening. It's not a problem I have, nor have ever had. I described myself earlier today as 'a couple of faps away from asexuality.' But other people's problems are more interesting than mine. I bore myself. So, I spent some quality time at http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/

First off, I watched http://youtu.be/GXy__kBVq1M which is a hilarious Tedx talk on Happiness from Shawn Achor. It's totally family friendly and highly recommended if you have 12 minutes free and are in a place where people won't give you funny looks for laughing out loud. Then I kicked myself for a further 12 minutes, because I know and have lived all this theory about being happy first and then living life afterwards. I just forget. I have no expectation of a Daily Joy Overflow, but since I fully appreciate small things, that's how I define my happy.

After that I dug into the porn stuff. It can cause erectile dysfunction, bitter irony. But then the section on addiction, dopamine receptors, and overstimulation suddenly looked horribly familiar. Light dawns. That's what I'm doing with daydreaming. And further:

"If we have enough [neurotransmitters that regulate the reward circuitry], our emotions are stable. When they are depleted, or out of balance, what we call "pseudo-emotions" can result. These false moods can be every bit as distressing as those triggered by abuse, loss or trauma. They can drive us to [binge].—Julia Ross, nutritional psychotherapist."

Since I'm imagining emotions, among other things, in order to frig my dopamine receptors on a daily basis, throwing pseudo-emotions into that mix is going make a mess. Welcome to my mind.

Is any of this genuinely true for me? I have no idea but it made enough sense that I turned to the pages on rebooting the brain and tried to translate them into a useful strategy to stop the most problematic type of daydreaming. I daydream words and ideas, and that doesn't feel too addictive. It's "normal-feeling", whatever that may be. But the people and social situations do feel addictive. I will cut off or drop out of other activities in order to daydream and though "normal" levels of daydreaming are 5%-50% of awake time depending on what study you read, earlier this week I was up to 14 hours+ and the remaining time awake was very fragmented and unproductive.

I've stopped daydreaming once before for a month, almost by accident, so I know it is unlikely to have a bad effect. I'm not going to freak out over lack of access to imaginary people who "love me" without the downsides from being around real people. I'm not going to be less imaginative or creative, since I don't do a lot of that to start with. I would have said I wasn't going to have any more time free, but remember how I started this ramble? The 50 hour long day? And I managed to fill it without people-situation daydreaming. Though I thought about doing it dozens of times. And about 2pm I just wanted to go to bed, I'd had enough of the day. But it's 9pm now and I'm still going.

I don't know if I can do it again tomorrow. Perhaps I'll wake up in the morning and give it a try. If it goes well, perhaps the day after that. It's an experiment. Experiments are good.

We think too much and feel too little.
 More than machinery, we need humanity.
 More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.

Charlie Chaplain in The Great Dictator
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