Friday, March 16, 2012


That's it. I can't take it anymore. The weather is too nice to go back to working. I'm still in my room, when I should be outside, but at least I'm not doing something as stuffy as working...for now.

I'm not sure what I need to write about today, but I need to write about something. This kind of weather is better for everything. It makes me happier, and it gets me inspired. This is why I love Summer so much. But maybe it's Spring I actually love, but I give Summer all the credit, because Spring is the kind of advanced-screening of Summer. Spring is the wonderful time when you're finally relieved of the cold, miserable, darkness of winter. And what a relief it is!

I've been thinking a lot about decision-making lately, and curiously enough, the Psych chapters I've been reading have been saying a lot about healthy decision-making techniques. What struck me most was their description of two kinds of decision-makers: satisficers and maximizers. Satisficers choose options that best satisfy their needs, even if it is not the best option. Maximizers agonize over choices, seek to make the best possible choice, and then agonize over the consequences. It's always interesting for me to have this kind of thing highlighted. It gives you something to work towards. Obviously being a maximizer is not a very efficient way of making decisions--but I definitely am one. The thing that I am able to realize, though, in reading this from an objective perspective, is that there is no "best possible decision." Just like how Utilitarianism doesn't really work because you spend so much time weighing the positive and the negative aspects of a moral choice, and can only predict the consequences (there are many more facets to the utilitarian theory and John Stuart Mill denies that you need to go through a process of giving value to every aspect of the outcomes). Even though this may sound cheesy, whatever choice you choose (of the most sensible options, of course) will be the best option. It just depends on how you deal with the consequences of your choice. I'm sure there will always be some sort of undesirable outcome from every choice, but if you behave like a satisficer, you can concentrate on the positive outcomes. Be satisfied. I guess allowing yourself to be satisfied is a challenge in itself. There's always a tendency to say "what if?" Life goes on, and, if you're following one of the philosophies I follow in life, everything happens for a reason. You make every choice in life for a reason, and it ultimately leads to something you could never expect it to lead to. While it's fine to wish we had done something differently, we shouldn't let the what ifs ruin the choices we actually make, or distract us from moving forward on the paths we choose. I've had the experience of being in a very dark situation, which was darkened most of all with regrets (in fact, most sad, bad situations are full of regrets). It was only when I realized that I was wasting my life away wishing I hadn't done this or that that I was able to move out of that situation. I could also not imagine that I would ever be entirely happy ever again. But that's why it's important to trust time to smooth out the wrinkles. So even with decisions, if they've been made and steps are carried out to confirm them, they may not always turn out right at the beginning. It's tempting to say "shoot I'm so stupid" and be disappointed and blame ourselves, but it's also important to try and make the best of it.

I was reading a whole chapter on health and well-being in my Psych textbook last night. That was also very inspiring. First of all, there's amazing research that has been conducted, showing that thinking positively and having healthy ways of dealing with conflict can actually improve your immune system and lower your risk of getting things like heart disease. Studies revealed that being hostile or experiencing chronic stress (these two things often find themselves in a vicious circle) can significantly increase your risk of heart disease. I think it's magical that nature actually makes it more healthy for you to have a generally positive outlook on life. This is not to say that our bodies can't handle it when we have occasional stressful situations, because we're bound to have those and they can be big or small. It's just about being able to take steps to confront the issues and deal with them in healthy ways. One of the ways they said to get through a stressful situation is by writing about it! I take the more extreme form of this advice by writing down my thoughts for three pages every morning--and I can tell you, as I have before, I am a much happier, healthier, more centred person for it! When you write things down, you are able to take a step back and look at the things niggling your brain and come up with solutions objectively. They say only to write things down when you're having a problem. But sometimes I don't even realize I'm having a problem until it comes out in the pages and I'm like "oh, that's why I've been so irritable lately." And many problems are not solved in one sitting of writing. But it's still neat. The other cool perspective I liked was them matter-of-factly saying "stress does not exist objectively in our environments, it results directly from the ways we think about events in our lives." I love it. So simple, but it was such a wake up call for me, having it put into those terms. Alright, I think to myself, I can do something about that!

The other suggestion they made, that I'm going to try to take up in my life (especially this summer--hello biking!) is to take thirty minutes out of your day every day to do some "moderate" aerobic exercise. That seems simple enough! And just that small amount of time every day will improve your health, mental health and mood. I wonder why it's so hard for us to justify doing that. For me, it's getting my special exercise clothes on and walking somewhere to walk on a treadmill, etc, etc. It feels like a big hassle. But on the days I don't feel like changing, I can always just go for a brisk walk somewhere. They said you don't have to lose your breath or get your heart rate up too high, just MOVE for thirty minutes a day, especially in this society when so few opportunities are provided to get just a little bit of exercise (thanks elevators, cars, escalators and so on).

I've been feeling great these past couple weeks. Maybe it's because I'm learning about cool things, some of which I've mentioned above. But I think it doesn't hurt to have glorious, warm weather. Interesting how something like weather can completely affect my overall mood. It seems unfair that I should be denied a good default mood when the weather changes. But for now, I will embrace it. The next challenge is getting my work done despite the summery, laid back weather!!!

Your friendly neighbourhood

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