How to Get Out of Your Head
And/or remove said head from one's own ass
My cardiologist is a tall man to whom I owe $1400. Recently, he looked at my post-COVID heart tests and said, “GO ON THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET AND EXERCISE FIVE TIMES A WEEK.” I took that to mean “eat like your recent ancestors before they came over here and discovered Sweet n Low, and also take a walk sometimes.”
Anyway, I’m sitting here eating, and my heart feels weird, but not as much in the literal palpitations way as in the metaphorical “blarrrrgh” way. I’d like to talk to you about that, but in a useful way, because this isn’t my pink Barbie diary with a lock on it, although I should probably purchase one of those with Margot Robbie on the cover.
Maybe it’s the cucumbers talking, or olives, or the hummus, or the iced Cafe Bustelo, or the New York City tap water, but this pan-Mediterranean by way of Cuban New Yawk meal (okay, I’m not Cuban, but the Middle East and Italy have STRONG coffee, and I guess the Irish and Brits have coffee, although I wouldn’t drink theirs on purpose) has me thinking of the different ways I get out of my own head. I figured I’d share them and invite you to comment with your own methods, and we’ll all surely become self-actualized within minutes.
To be clear, this is not a primer on how to avoid one’s own feelings. We have to feel those as they arise. But as I recently said in my Patreon-only podcast, The Audio Letter, one must strike a balance between processing one’s emotions and wallowing in thoughts about them. (Or I guess I said a version of that. Anyway.)
If you’re dealing with something at the moment, perhaps you’ll find a pleasant and healthful distraction in these suggestions.
Read about random stuff
These things have nothing to do with my life - or do they?! Fairies and climate change are in fact relevant to my interests. Atlas Obscura is particularly great for this type of thing, but I’m also happy to learn from other sources.
Does This Silly-Looking Animal Have a Solution to Climate Change? - Atlas Obscura is rude to call the beaver “silly-looking,” as it is a supermodel angel creature.
Is Kindness Contagious? - “Prosocial contagion?” I’m screaming, what a silly fun phrase. What will the behavioral psych girls come up with next? What an interesting feature from UCLA, a school I did not attend!
What is a Fairy Fort? - Atlas Obscura goes to Ireland and learns about Irish things.
Hang out in bookshops and libraries
You don’t even have to buy or borrow anything. Just wander around and look at all the shit other people have thought about for long enough to actually write it down. Writing books can be hard and lonely, so if these people had the motivation to actually stick with it, perhaps we can have the motivation to read one at some point, theoretically.
Maybe I’ll write another one soon, too. (Check out my books on the indie site Bookshop.org.) Anyway, it’s a great idea to ask a local bookseller to order a book (like, ahem, one by short queen Sara Benincasa) for you. They’ll make sure to get it and then ship it to you, or you can pick it up in person. And you’re supporting a small business in the process.
Here are a few of my favorite indie bookshops. You don’t even have to be local. Look at their modern World Wide Web-sites!
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