Stepping Out

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While I’m on the Paul McKenna buzz, I must just quickly share one technique of his that has saved my sanity on more than one occasion, and kept depression from my door for a good ten years now.

Much in the same way as I mentioned yesterday about visualising who or how you’d like to be and stepping into that vision of yourself, so stepping out of repeated bad memories that have plagued me also works like a charm.

In the past I have become fixated on negative emotions and memories, quite often playing the same sequence in my head over and over again, making myself feel utterly lousy. So, by consciously playing that memory, but then mentally stepping back from the image, so you are no longer immediately in the frame, and then draining the colour from the mental image, drains its emotional hold over you.

You can then go one step further by putting a frame around the image and then imaging that frame disappearing off, or being blown up or shrinking to nothing.

Then you are left with just you in the present moment, and the emotional hold that mental projection has over you is massively weakened. Of course, the bad images come back, but each time, go through the process and each time they come back weaker, and eventually not at all.

Four days

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I’ve been thinking more about the four-day working week I mentioned yesterday, and the more I think about it, the more I think it’s potentially irresponsible to even suggest the notion.

We live in a fast-moving age where there is a lot of stress, and stress is not good for us humans. Not only does it affect the way we form memories, shutting down our hippocampus and forcing memories to be stored as implicit memories, it can have a devastating impact on our brain in general.

It’s one of the reasons I think Universal Basic Income is a good idea, (and is one of the few things I agree with Jeremy Corbyn on) as stress over money is at the core of a lot of domestic abuse, homelessness and suicide. Getting people out of poverty or stress caused by financial issues should, in my view, be one of the key drivers of and government. I firmly believe that any ways we can reduce financial stress and alleviate poverty have to be explored fully (although how to fund it is always problematic, and would have to rely on a bit of a leap of faith that the money will be re-invested back into the economy).

I can’t imagine for one moment that many companies would allow people to drop to a four day week without the accompanying drop in salary, or putting in the extra hours to maintain their salary. I suspect also that lower paid jobs may be open to abuse and forced to reduce their hours (if it were to come to that), while the higher earners would either choose to remain on their full day rate over five days, or find ways to circumvent the system to keep their full pay over four days.

I can only imagine that, should it happen, stress levels of those earning under £30k a year would increase massively, and make things like saving for a house even harder. This would have a knock on effect on the bank of Mum and Dad, and make family relationships more strained.

So, for a would-be Government to propose effectively cutting people’s salaries at a time when the cost of living seems to be going through the roof is somewhat reckless. It might play well in an election, but I have a feeling it won’t play well in reality.

Funnily enough, I haven’t even mentioned the one reason I was going write about – the good old extended order! There’s probably a lot of reasons we settled a five day working week; it’s a system that’s proved itself the winner over time.

How We Become We

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I’m listening to a fascinating audiobook at the moment which is so full of big ideas I’m sure I’ll be listening to it again and again in the coming months and years. It’s called ‘The Neurobiology of We’ by Dr Daniel J. Siegel M.D.

It’s more like a series of lectures in which he builds up a coherent argument based around relationships, the mind and the brain and how the three interact. He starts with exploring how memories are formed before moving on to look at how our character traits develop as children. This he uses as a foundation to explore what emotions are (and they are more complicated than you’d think) before topping it off with the most sensible and meaningful exploration of mindfulness I’ve seen in a long time, if ever.

I’ll be exploring a lot of the ideas in coming posts, but if you have an Audible account, it’s well worth checking out (although stick with it as it starts quite slowly, and I almost wrote him off as a bit of a hippy before the serious science kicked in).

I’m still processing a lot of the ideas and trying to tie it in with my fledgling theories of society and liberty based on my readings of Hayek (in particular) and von Mises, but the links are definitely there. It’s a shame there’s no book version (that I’m aware of). Two key concepts that have really got my mind whirring are maximising complexity (which comes out of chaos theory) and his ideas of coherence and integration.