Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tracking my state of mind - part 2

2 months ago, I wrote about tracking my state of mind with a Reporter phone app. Basically the phone prompts me at random times of the day to answer simple questions like how do I feel and what am I doing, etc. Here are the results so far:

- I think about negative thoughts roughly half of the time I'm awake.

- I'm mostly grateful about my job, sunny days, and being with my boyfriend (so yeah, I ended up panicking and apologizing to him for going crazy, so now we're back to square one ).

- About a month ago I was workign about 30% of the time, but now it has gone up to 38% (working til late in the evening and on weekends).

- I spend most of my time working on my paper and commuting to and from work.

- I'm mostly alone or with my colleagues.

- My top three moods are "Ruminating", "Bleh", and "Content".

None of these results are terribly surprising to me. The biggest surprise from this exercise that I did not realize before, is how quickly I change my opinions and mood about a topic that runs continuously in my head. In the morning on my subway ride to work, I would, say, feel very anxious about my relationship with my boyfriend. Right after lunch, even though nothing has changed in reality, I would feel that maybe my relationship is going fine after all, that I have nothing to worry about. And in the evening again I would come up with some scenario or nick-pick on problems and decide that this relationship sucks and I deserve better. Same with my opinions about work. One moment I would feel extremely grateful about this super interesting and flexible job, and the next moment I would think my job sucks and I want to move to another country.

That's just how my mind works I guess. It makes up story after story, anticipating before anything new in real life changes, trying to protect my feelings and my dignity. It is extremely difficult for me to focus on "now". I am constantly worried about the future and wish I made fewer mistakes in my past.

I would love to go on a meditation retreat, but since I don't have the time right now, this moment tracking thing is the next best thing I can do. One thing I really need to change about my current life: find some friends or even strangers to hang out with, since my colleagues aren't interested in being friends outside of work.

It's how life works I guess. My life is pretty fabulous and lacks a million things at the same time. There are things I'm doing that are kinda fun but I'd rather be doing something even more exciting, so I don't appreciate the good moments every day. The second question I ask myself, after "Am I having negative thoughts", is: "What am I grateful about?" Usually it helps made me step back from my shitty mood and examine what's good in life, even if it's as simple as a shining sun.


  1. Hi,

    Have you ever heard of "borderline" personality ? People suffering from that are constantly shifting from pessimism to optimism on something ... Don't be afraid by this word "borderline" ... I just thought about it while reading your emotion roller-coaster ...

    1. Thanks for your comment Tony. I guess what I describe does sound like Borderline personality disorder eh? However after I checked the definition, BPD describes the BEHAVIOR of a person. So I guess I think like a BPD but I tend to suppress my feelings and try my best to behave like a "normal person", ie. not an impulsive drama queen. I know my psyche is still messed up, but don't really know what to do about it...

    2. Yogini,

      You are "overthinking" : I purchased a book on that in 2007 ... Why not have a look on books about that subject ?

      I think, when we were primitive, Noradrenaline was used to get alert when an animal attacked us .. But actually, in modern life, people who have a high level of noradrenaline tend to be anxious, overthinking for nothing ...

      Consult a doctor or a psychiatrist, just to see if they can provide you any useful information. Don't take it bad. If someone tells me to go to a pDoc, I won't be happy. But beleive, it may help you, it may act as a shortcut to solve your problem.

      Just take a long breathe once per hour (put alarm on smartphone to vibrate) and enjoy long breathing. It will calm you at least 20%.


      google results :

    3. Hi Tony, thanks for your suggestions. I think in my case a life coach would be a lot more helpful than a doctor or a psychiatrist. You give doctors a bit too much credits for what they can do I think :)

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