Bring it down a notch.
Welcome to the Week of Self-Control at The Happy Homunculus!  Last week, we sampled six Daily Mind Games that tested our self-awareness.  This week, the DMGs are going to push us a bit more: now we're going to attempt to control the same behaviors we audited last week.  Can you control yourself, or does your homunculus run the show?

As I discussed yesterday, our level of cognitive self-mastery is defined by two parameters: monitoring and control.  In other words, do you know what's going on in your own head, and can you choose what's going on in your own head?  These are important questions, and hopefully you answered a tentative "sorta" to both of them.  If not, practice makes perfect, which is the whole point of this blog... POW!

An important behavior to be aware of is how our body reacts physiologically to emotion.  For me, I have palpable body-sensations that accompany anxiety: tightness in the chest, panicky-feelings, a "rushed" feeling.  Ultimately, my goal is to achieve some control over how I respond to this physiological response to stress.  In the past, feeling anxious only made me more anxious.  But, recently, by being more mindful of the sensation of anxiety, I've managed to be able to better control my response to it, and this has reduced the amount of time I have to deal with the unpleasant sensations.  Your mission today is to observe a similar nasty body sensation and exert some control over it.


Task: Observe an uncomfortable body sensation and manage your reaction.

Info: A great trick I use to deal with an unpleasant sensation is to really observe the heck out of it, like I'm staring straight at it with my jedi-like-mind.  The goal is to filter the feeling through the rational part of my mind and to repackage it by labeling the feeling: "tightness, panic-feeling" etc.  I also remind myself that the body sensation isn't "real".  In other words, nothing in the environment caused the feeling: it is a product of my own mind.  These two tricks normally suffice to make me calm down, and often cause the bad sensation to go away entirely.

Goal: Eliminate a bad body sensation that accompanies a negative emotion via mindful awareness, positive self-talk, or both.

So far so good, right?  Why don't you exert some more self-control and share The Happy Homunculus with a friend?

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