Twenty one studies in emotional strength

It has come to the point where it’s time for me to try another 21 day project to strengthen my troubled little brain. I have done this sort of thing before but not told anyone, and as a result, didn’t manage to keep the commitment. So I’m letting you know about this one in the hope that having an audience will oblige me to stick to it.

There are a few compelling factors in the decision to dedicate a total of 63 hours to this particular cause:

  • The world – locally and globally – is full of weirdness and worry right now, and having accepted that there is very little I can do about it, I am reminded that the only person I can actually change is myself, so let me do that.
  • October tends to be a gloomy month for me, and this one takes us into a winter with possibly more than the usual darkness, but with also an emerging clarity, strength and beauty that I would like to be able to focus on instead.
  • While I still only work part-time, and with no other major projects this month, I have the luxury of time and space for a focused short-term commitment. I will make good use of it!
  • I’ve recently experienced another (fascinatingly intense but not much fun) spiral into an anxious place (complete with skin-crawling fear and crumpled on the floor trembly sickness) which I’d prefer not to happen again, so it’s a good time to strengthen my cerebrum for the winter to keep those devious little neuro-demons away.
  • I have also just discovered October 10th is World Mental Health Day! What better time to start.

So there you are, invited to follow this little journey I’ve set myself on, from the 10th to 30th October, in which I will set aside up to three hours a day for the following:

1.Commit to my previously identified daily practices of exercise, meditation, gratitude, affirmations, visualisations, laughter, connection, creativity and kindness (these are all just so lovely, I’m so lucky have the time for each of them every day, even if it’s just a minute or two).

2. Allocate at least two hours each day to learn about and fully carry out a mental and emotional health strengthening practice. I am aware of a few specific writing exercises, guided meditations and lessons in things like breathing techniques and mindfulness that I have been meaning to look into properly, and a whole pile of wise authors and teachers who I’ve heard tantalising snippets of that I will devote some proper time to. While I have a few day’s worth of tasks to get started with, I am very much open to suggestions of what to try next. If you have recommendations for teachers/talks/techniques that have helped you overcome anxiety, think positively and gain control over negative emotions, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and add them into this little exploration.

3. For me, and for anyone who’s interested, I will record my findings here every day.

By November I have a couple of big decisions to make and I’d like to consider them from a place of wellness and love, so it would be great if this investigative adventure goes some way to clearing out the tangled strands of resistance that keep manifesting in a surprisingly diverse array of mental and emotional disruptions that keep dragging me back to a place of fear and anxiety.

We’ll see what we find out.

For now, I invite you to send me your thoughts and suggestions for my journey – miriamzaccarelli@gmail.com – and I look forward to letting you know how it goes.

Thank you

Side note: For any of you who grew up under the same religious persuasions as me, you may have noticed that this project follows the same formula as the ‘conditions’ we used to diligently perform, complete with time period, offering, accountable person and desired result. I follow the same pattern because it seems to work, and not because of the manipulative fear-based lies we were brought up on, but because of what I now understand to be neurological inevitability. I like the idea of reclaiming the techniques that were used to control and frighten us, and use them to liberate and heal myself instead. The investigative essay on what the church got right in among a million things they got wrong is the exciting subject for another day.

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