I feel like I’m finally starting to understand how my brain works. I believe for the longest time we had a very love/hate relationship. Through high school I completely slacked and my brain pretty much enjoyed a four year hiatus. Once I hit college, I came out swinging and totally immersed myself in my studies. My brain, therefore, spent a good chuck of the time hating me. Then I thought we worked out a good compromise when I landed a mind stimulating job… but then, as I progressed within my personal and professional life, anxiety began to plague me almost daily. So I decided to sit down and listen to what my brain, now feeling like I was completely disconnected to it, had to say.
So it turns out, I’ve been bored. I really, truly think that’s what can be traced back to months and months of agonizing anxiety. When I was running steadily (now it’s a pipe dream with my sched and this freezing cold weather!) I was happy. When I’m doing yoga I’m happy. But when I’m in spin class, weight training, or entrenched in a Vinyasa I’m downright elated. I kind of equate this process to when we first brought home our puppy. He was 2 months old and a terror. I cried every time I saw him. I really thought he was brought into my life to drive me over the edge of insanity. These feelings are similar to how I felt in the throes of anxiety. Aggravated, tired, at my wits end…
Then we figured out this four-legged fiend and found that when we walked him extensively and took him to the park and played ball with him, that night (and sometimes even the next day!) was a complete pleasure with him. He snuggled and cuddled and resembled a normal dog – not the out of control, ADD, ball of fur he was for the first 12 hours of the day.
So here’s my analogy - when my pup got exercise and stimulation he was much happier in the end. He was calm and loving and fabulous. When he wasn’t played with, he turned into a ten pound tyrant. So, when I pretty much went into autopilot and checked out of being active within my life, my brain went haywire. It caused massive distress that leaked out in all kinds of “fun” ways. When I’m in a spin class, working out with my trainer, doing challenging yoga poses… I’m in the moment. My body and brain are one for a moment and they are both getting out loads of pent up energy. The end result? A much happier girl. I’ve become somewhat obsessed with my Vinyasa classes. It was one of the first times that for the entire hour and a half I never once peeked at the clock. Boredom is near torture for me and its so relieving to not only know it, but understand it. I’m happiest when running around from work, to gym, to yoga class then coming home and making dinner while simultaneously dusting the house and folding laundry. The word ‘busy’ used to be synonymous with ‘medieval torture device’ for me, but now I know I’m so much better off with lots to do! And this in turn has been CRUCIAL for me in overcoming my anxious episodes.
In conclusion: my dog has brought me closer to understanding how my mind works.