By Linda Quon
One of my wisest friends, Susan, once told me she tries to have her first cup of coffee without distraction. No phone, no computer, just her thoughts and a warm, steamy cup. I love this, but it’s not easy for me. Another wise friend, Lolly, leaves her phone in the kitchen to charge overnight vs. in her bedroom. Thanks to these insightful women, I’ve been going to bed and having my first cup of coffee without the temptation of checking the news headlines and weather forecast. I’ve also spent less time stalking my son on Instagram (he rarely posts anyway) or checking in on Facebook. If only I could wait to peek at my email until I’m ready to sit down at my desk and work (that’s my next goal). It’s strange this technology addiction.
Today, I did it. In the spirit of minding my mind, I got cozy with my first cuppa (another addiction I suppose) and sat. Without the distraction of technology, I sat with gratitude. I thought about the things that make me happy instead of the things that stress me out or make me angry or frustrate me. I felt lucky for my husband and kids, my friends, the great people I get to work with. I love where I live, I love the type of work I do, I get to play music with people I enjoy. It physically felt really good to think about those things. I think I even stirred up some good chemicals in my brain — dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. Those are the four primary chemicals in our brains that can make us feel happy. Here’s an interesting article from Psychology Today about that.
I was interrupted by myself several times. I watched the hummingbirds flit around the empty feeder hanging by the window (I should make more sugar water), I forgot to check my dog’s water dish (I feel like I’m the only one in the family who does), there is something I want to order online, I need to send something to a client, I should check on my dad (he had a rough doctor’s appointment the other day). Maybe I should write all this down in a blog?
Okay, breathe…focus…back to gratitude. All of those other things can wait. It was harder than it should be to sit still. It would be so easy to pop up and get a few things done before I forget. I could grab my computer, send that email to my client, order that thing. I could grab my phone, call my dad, see if my son has posted a photo of himself or his dog recently. But I didn’t. I sat, took some deep breaths, and soaked up the space around me and felt really lucky. Then I told my husband how much I appreciate him, poured my second cup of coffee and grabbed my computer.
I’m gonna try again tomorrow. Wish me luck!
Linda Quon is Vice President and Director of Communication at Quon Design and Communication. Linda is working to promote everyday mental health awareness in partnership with Deschutes County Health Services and Central Oregon Health Council — which includes providers and health advocates from Crook, Jefferson, and Deschutes Counties. Linda was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Central Oregon with her husband and two children in 2005. Her mother lived with Schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder and her oldest brother also experienced bi-polar disorder. With support from family, friends, therapists and primary care providers, Linda has been navigating the world of mental illness most of her life — including her own struggles with mild anxiety and depression. Linda is proud to work as an advocate for mental health and a blogger for Mind Your Mind Central Oregon.