Building Internal Control - Know Thyself

I like the idea of building mental scaffolding as a way of creating some sort of internal control, and one of the best ways to do this is to read a lot of high quality literature, as it is often seen that it is through literature that we can understand human nature and ultimately hope to understand ourselves better. In going this it gives us the strength and wherewithal to deal with those external events or triggers. It makes me think of Francis Spufford’s book ‘The Child that Books Built’, and how important reading is in the formative years to help us understand the world and ourselves better.

Reading about the modern world also helps. Two of the best books that I have read on this are by Matt Haig - Reasons to Stay Alive and Notes From a Nervous Planet. As he says in the former (partly me thinking about the question of aging in the chat in the live session today):

‘The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business’

The list of 40 reasons to live is here. It’s well worth a read. Maybe not surprisingly, but I particularly like no. 6 and no. 36.

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Thank you for sharing, Hamish, particularly the 40 reasons to live :rainbow:

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Love the list @Hamish.
Especially like the 4th one and staunch believer of 33rd (my learning from another book, the wisdom of the Enneagram).

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As always, thanks for sharing @Hamish. I really like this one:

19. Don’t worry about things that probably won’t happen.

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#5 puzzles me. I assume it’s just there to add humor? It says, “Beware Tuesdays. Beware October.”
Tuesdays are one of my favorite days because one of my favorite activities that brings me happiness (dog agility class) meets on Tuesdays.
October has always been my favorite month - such a beautiful time of the year where I live. My husband and I even decided to get married in October because it’s such a lovely month.

The rest make sense to me and like Manoel, #19 is a favorite of mine.

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I nmust have missed the blog with the 50? ways of happiness. I’d love to see it. Blue

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In the book, Matt Haig recalls that it was on a Tuesday in October that his depression almost got the better of him, and he was staring into the abyss but decided to live. If you’ve ever been to England in October, you’d maybe understand as the weather is especially dreary. It’s a reason I’m in Thailand, to escape from the dreariness.

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I posted above, but it’s here

Everyone would have their own lists, but I thought I’d share Matt Haig’s here, from Reasons to Stay Alive:

“Things that make me worse"

Coffee.
Lack of sleep.
The dark.
The cold.
September.
October.
Mid-afternoons.
Tight muscles.
The pace of contemporary existence.
Bad posture.
Being away from the people I love.
Sitting for too long.
Advertising.
Feeling ignored.
Waking up at three in the morning.
TV.
Bananas (I am not sure about this one, it is probably a coincidence).
Alcohol.
Facebook (sometimes).
Twitter (sometimes).
Deadlines.
Editing.
Difficult decisions (you know, which socks to wear).
Getting physically ill.
Thinking I am feeling depressed (the most vicious of circles).
Not drinking enough water.
Checking my Amazon ranking.
Checking other writers’ Amazon rankings.
Walking into a social function on my own.
Train travel.
Hotel rooms.
Being alone.

“Things that (sometimes) make me better”

Mindfulness.
Running.
Yoga.
Summer.
Sleep.
Slow breathing.
Being around people I love.
Reading Emily Dickinson poems.
Reading some of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory.
Writing.
Eating well.
Long baths/showers.
Eighties movies.
Listening to music.
Facebook (sometimes).
Twitter (sometimes).
Going for a long walk.
‘Noble deeds and hot baths’ (Dodie Smith).
Making burritos.
Light skies and walls.
Reading Keats’ letters. (‘Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?’)
The bank of bad days.
Large rooms.
Doing something selfless.
The smell of bread.
Wearing clean clothes (come on, I’m a writer, this is rarer than you’d think).
Thinking I have things that work for me.
Knowing that other things work for other people.
Absorbing myself into something
Knowing that someone else may read these words and that, just maybe, the pain I felt wasn’t for nothing.

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Ah, that explains it. Thank you.

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Hamish, great list. You writer, me engineer, therefore I keep thinking there is an equation, a recipe if you like but it is not infallible… as a bit of an aside, despite the evidence to say money does not matter, I think it does. It helps if you have enough money do to/have the things you deem necessary. My things that make me feel better…maybe even happy are something like
Sleep + Health+ Exercise+ Good food+ Good environment+ Someone who cares+Social connection(s)+ Something interesting to do/read/create (or to go)+Time not doing = a good start, base level if you like. which I know is a challenge for any, me included at times
Next level for me would be more specific and instead of additive it becomes any one of these things can be transforming …in a good way (your list is different I know)
Listening to uplifting music, preferably live.
Great food that makes you say ah…without thinking about saying Ah
Close, close connection…could be a conversation or physical (you know)
Cycle ride around country lanes on a sunny day
Dancing in some form
Visiting and Walking somewhere new
Helping someone dig a hole…or something else that involves helping others or the planet
Getting soaked in a rain shower
A drink with a friend
On top of a mountain (or other scenic spot that takes you breath away)
Making sheep noises to sheep (doing something childish)

No disasters…eg home subsides, major illness, someone robs you, someone close dies, lose job/insufficient money,your car dies (or similar), close relationship leaves…too many

Summary: Get basics right + One off good things + NOT one of the bad things+Be mindful

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Thank you so much for sharing this, @Hamish. I especially loved the 40 reasons! :smiley:

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