I conducted my Experiment in Sanity last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. To quickly recap, I promised myself I’d write, exercise and read each day of the experiment. My hypothesis was, “I will feel less anxious and calmer if I read, exercise and write every day for the next three days.” (I feel so science-fairish saying *hypothesis*.)
You probably won’t be surprised to find it proved true – I felt far less anxious when I read, wrote and exercised each day than I had leading up to the experiment. Exercise literally reduces stress by physically giving anxiety a way to leave the body. Reading, especially right before bed (my lifelong favorite time to read) gives me something to focus on besides my life and unfinished tasks. Writing the three Morning Pages each day always helps me process events and emotions. But working on writing project feels like I’m moving forward. I feel accomplished, not anxious when I move forward.
1. Doing all three each day was a struggle..
Finding time to read was the hard one on Tuesday. But I read a chapter of my current book before falling asleep. The day was quite busy with my hats changing repeatedly, but reading at the very end of the day settled me and probably helped me fall asleep faster.
Wednesday, reading and exercise came easily. Computer updates nearly prevented me from writing outside my normal hand written Morning Pages (espoused by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way). But Windows finally completed its updates late afternoon, and I worked on structural edits for an upcoming post.
Thursday, reading and writing flowed pretty well. (Even though my dog had a #doggydaycarefail, but that’s another story for another day). Exercise was my Thursday struggle that I overcame by squeezing in a 10-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. I’m new to the HIIT concept, but I’m completely in love with working hard for 10 minutes and then moving on. (Once I catch my breath, that is.)
2. It’s easy to say I’m going to make these things (or anything else, for that matter) priority in my day. But then life happens, right?
On Tuesday, a situation I’ve been trying to resolve at work presented an opportunity to finally come together, but I needed to go to the office to seal the deal. Even getting to that point took additional time, several text messages and telephone calls. I chose to go in and put it to bed, so to speak. Of course, that decision set me back on my to-do list which was aggressively full. Tuesday was exactly the type of day when it is easiest to drop the anxiety-reducing activities in life.
It’s good for me to look back at those three days and see (1) time was there, I needed to utilize it for anxiety-reducing actions, and (2) the lessened anxiety was worth the time it took. The obvious question is, have I continued to do all three every day? No. But I do at least 2 of the three each day.
Progress, not perfection…right?