I’m a believer that changing your actions can change your thoughts. How you live your life to some extent shapes your attitude.
In 2020, we’ve all seen a big change in our way of life, with quarantine, lockdown, social distancing, or whatever you want to call it. If it’s true that actions change thoughts, then reorganizing our way of life should alter our mindset, if only temporarily.
For me, one change in my thoughts that I’ve noticed in recent weeks is engaging in more reflection. More introspection (on a good day) or more rumination (on a bad one). I think I’m not the only one to experience this shift.
It’s not that I have a lot more time to sit around and think. I have many of the same responsibilities I had in pre-coronavirus days, and I’ve even taken on some additional ones. I think it’s more a consequence of not going out and being physically engaged with the external world.
I’m not typically someone who sets aside a lot of time for introspection, probably thanks in part to ADHD. I tend to get caught up in whatever activity is most immediately stimulating, which generally isn’t sitting around collecting my thoughts. When I do engage in focused reflection, it tends to be while I’m doing another activity such as running.
Of course, the glaring exception to that might be … these blog posts. Writing helps me process my thoughts in an active way. Because I write so much that I put out there for other people to read, I don’t generally feel the desire to keep a journal for my own purposes.
However, that has changed in recent times. I’ve found it therapeutic to write about my day-to-day thoughts and experiences, then go back and read what I’ve written later. To keep it interesting, I try to write about them in an entertaining (to me) or at least somewhat organized way, rather than pure stream-of-consciousness. Starting to keep a journal stems partly from looking for a way to process my thoughts and partly from wanting to be able to look back at a record of my life during this strange time.
As with any informal hobby I initiate, this one may well soon be dropped. Maybe a couple more weeks of social distancing and I’ll be well and truly sick of processing my own thoughts. But for now, as the outside world pauses, this feels like a time for reflection.
Image: Flickr/nasrul ekram