“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced,” the 19th-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote.
Does it feel like almost everything you do—from work projects to hosting dinner parties—is a problem to be solved?
Like you’re always playing defense against all the possibilities of things going wrong?
Try to find a way—your way—to regulate your nervous system. And do it first thing in the morning (or at least before you start work for the day).
For example, I meditate every morning. Before breakfast. Before looking at my phone. Before writing these emails.
Meditation calms my mind and relaxes tension in my body. It does this by regulating my nervous system, the collection of tissues and organs that controls thoughts, actions, and feelings.
I wake up every morning as though there’s a problem to solve. Biologically, my nervous system is in fight-or-flight mode, ready to address a threat.
After meditation, it feels like the threat has faded away—like there’s no problem to solve. Even if I have a busy schedule, the day is full of possibility. Who knows what will happen? I might still dread a certain obligation, but I’m also excited for the opportunity to live this day.
Maybe it’s not meditation for you. Maybe it’s yoga or prayer. But find a way to regulate your nervous system each and every morning, and chances are life won’t feel like such a problem anymore. (Therapy helps too!)
P.S. Struggling to get a meditation practice (or any form of self-care) going? Email me (email@example.com) and I’ll share some advice.