It all starts with space.
Wherever we go, we take our (busy) mind with us. So, unless we are already pretty relaxed, doing nothing or doing something very mellow can actually feel more ‘busy’ and stressful than not taking a break. When our minds are running around like hamsters, there is a certain peace that comes with keeping busy. Yet, that kind of peace is very limited, and fragile, and we can’t keep running endlessly.
So, today, a post on creating space when your mind is on a hamsterwheel, a.k.a. conventionally busy.
Going for a walk out in nature is good (very good) for HSPs. BUT, if you were fretting or stressing before you went for that walk, it will only get worse during. It’s the same phenomenon that occurs during official meditation: you ‘stop doing’ and your mind starts throwing all kinds of garbage at you. And there you were thinking this would help you relax! On days like that, I go out for a walk and take my camera.
A camera is a powerful tool for creating distraction and focus simultaneously. The world looks different through a camera lens, making it entertaining. The camera gives you something to do, distracting you from what your mind was hamsterwheeling about. AND, a camera requires that you shift your focus from ideas to images, activating a different part of your brain, a part much less concerned with to do lists, and more with beauty.
In all these ways, a camera also helps you connect with your subject. You study it more, to find the right frame, the right angle, the right zoom, the best light. I spend a lot more time looking at a plant through my lens than I would just stopping to look at it without a camera. And I wouldn’t even have noticed the earring (above right), that someone had lost and another person had found, had it not been for my photographic lens…
Taking pictures also provides a sense of accomplishment. It satisfies our need for results. Whether those results are big or small, important or insignificant is completely beside the point. The part of us that likes being busy, craves results. So when our busy brain is hamsterwheeling, we need to appease it a little to get “permission” to do something else. “Let’s go DO something, let’s go TAKE PICTURES” might be just the phrase to get that permission and prevent an onslaught of “there’s no time”, “you must finish this other thing first”, “what’s the point of that”, and “I don’t feel like going out” etc. etc.
There are some other smart ways to phrase the issue:
- “It’s important to get some exercise, we’ll be a lot more productive afterwards”.
- “Studies have shown that 2 hours of daylight (= being outside) goes a long way to preventing Seasonal Affective Disorder”.
- “Remember that promise of self-care? Well, this is it, this is how I need to show I care!”
If you have a dog, that of course makes it even easier.
Being a cat person, a part of me suspects that this is PRECISELY why people get a dog. But if you are a dog person, you’ll probably disagree. The dogs in the audience (who’s to say they’re not reading this??) probably will agree, but that’s a different discussion entirely.
Go out and take pics!