Day 267, Thoughts Create Our Environment

Day 267, Thoughts Create Our Environment

“We are not only what we eat but also our own thoughts. We are what we think we are, and what happens to us has a lot to do with what we think will happen to us.”

Tuesday Morning


Preparing For My Day

5-10 things i am grateful for:
  1. life itself
  2. my family
  3. water
  4. electricity
  5. my husband
morning comments, feelings, ideas, moods, and empowering questions:
I am happy with the way that I am!
mood and energy:
feeling okay
not feeling up to walking 2 miles, but I did 1.29.
reason it is important
next action(s)
posted 2 blog entries in the past 2 days.
Popular blog goal
Continue!  Post whenever you can!
lost 0.1 kg last night
Weight loss goal
Never lose sight of weight loss goal.
reviewed 14 beliefs for creating a popular blog.
Popular blog goal
Review and speak daily. Act on in some way for the day.
reviewed 12 habits from The Power of Less.
Popular blog goal
Act on these habits daily.
worked on 3 MIT’s (most important tasks) from Aspirations for Joyful Vibrance yesterday.
Habit from The Power of Less.
Do daily!

Tuesday Afternoon

I fixed a 4-egg omelette.  It was my husband’s breakfast and my lunch.
I am looking at the requirements for a Colorado drivers license, which I need to get soon.  If they require me to drive on the freeway to pass the test, that could be a problem.  I have not driven on the freeway since I moved to Colorado.  My anxiety is starting to mount.  If I want to retain my Utah drivers license, I must get a doctor’s signature.  Will a Colorado doctor sign for a Utah license?  Not likely.  The best move is to get my Colorado license.

Wednesday Morning

Sleep Record
Since April 18, 2019, I have been tracking my sleep in Cronometer.   Since I usually get at least seven hours a night, I believe I am on the safe side.   There have been a couple of days where I got far less sleep and a few days I did not report.  The dots on the graph show points I recorded in the diary log.

Wednesday Afternoon

I have been using a CloSys dental rinse since my cleaning.  My hygienist gave me a large container of it.  It has the effect of making my drinking water taste bitter.  I have stopped using it periodically because that effect is so annoying.  I probably should tell me dentist about it because maybe there is something that can be done.
I called, and they said I could add flavoring to the CloSys or lemon to the water.  I will see if either of those things work.

Wednesday Evening

I watched part of the Google Keynote presentation this afternoon.  Google is adding all kinds of exciting functionality to our cell phones with their artificial intelligence technology.

Environment or Genetics?

Yesterday, I started reading another book.  It is called Got Bipolar?  An Insider’s Guide to Managing Life Effectively.  Australian author, Alfredo Zotti, has bipolar type II and his wife has bipolar type I.  Answering the question of whether bipolar is caused by genetics or the environment, he would say environment. Natasha Tracy favored genetics.  And Dr. Edward Podvoll also favored environment.  I do not think anyone really knows for sure.  I think there is a contribution from both.  In my family, two of us had bipolar disorder, but interestingly, we are only related by adoption.  Quite a few of my eleven siblings have had mental health issues of one kind or another.  I suspect the stressful environment we had while growing up was a contributor.

Method Acting

Zotti writes about method acting, which he does not train you how to do, but explains that it is using the skills actors use to focus on things outside of themselves and take on the emotions of the person whose part they are playing.  He said you can imagine you are someone who is happy and play that role.
I was feeling a bit down this morning, but I focused on acting the role my father used to describe in his bedtime stories.  He told a story of two sisters, Evelyn and Betsy.  Evelyn was cheerful, got up early, made her bed, got dressed, and helped her parents.  Betsy was miserable, stayed in bed all morning, and was not helpful.  So I tried to play the role of Evelyn.  I have probably done that a lot in my life because I am a morning person.  The story my Dad used to tell me had a lifelong effect on me.
Alfredo says the stories that we hear and tell ourselves have a profound influence on our lives.  Now I would like to find a way to have all that glorious energy in the evening as well.  I designed an evening routine today, but I am too exhausted to do it tonight.  I tried to imagine Evelyn as an evening person, but I have no story in my head about that, just a morning story.  I will have to find an evening person I admire, real or fictional, to act the part of.

Finnish Open Dialog Method

Another interesting topic Alfredo touched on was the Finnish Open Dialogue Method.  This method is very effective at facilitating the recovery of people having their first psychotic episode in Finland.  Rather than hospitalizing people and putting them on medication, medical workers treat the psychosis like a social problem, and the sufferer and their family and friends and perhaps representatives from work are all assembled for a dialogue on how the patient can be supported better and what can be done to improve his or her environment.  A dialogue uncovers the mental stories involved in the psychosis.  Medication is only used as a last resort.
One thing that amazed me during my 2016 episode was how little input any of the mental health workers received from me.  They asked me very few questions.  They gave me a long-acting shot of Risperdal, even though I can take daily pills with no problem.  I think they wanted me to continue the practice of getting monthly shots long-term, but that was not practical for me.
Alfredo went into mental health himself, but he took issue to the way it is being done, so he did not complete his studies.  However, he does work as a volunteer to help many people that suffer from bipolar disorder and related conditions.  His wife requires a lot of care.  I can relate to his lifestyle.

Not Simply a Biological Problem

Alfredo Zotti says again and again that bipolar disorder is not simply a biological problem.  Maybe that is why taking medicine and even working hard on my diet does not completely eliminate symptoms.  I thought I could cure it through spiritual means, but that does not work either.  To some degree, ardent spiritual practices make the disorder worse.  I was raised to believe that it was imperative to pray and study the scriptures every day.  I took this advice to heart.  However, the more I prayed and read the scriptures, the deeper into psychosis I would go.  If I prayed all night, which I did sometimes, it was especially dangerous.  One thing that does seem to help is getting enough sleep, but that is all but impossible to do if I start slipping into an episode, even with sleeping pills.

So What Is The Answer?

Loving Environment
So what is the answer?  I have heard that a loving environment can really help.  The loving expressions and gestures between me and my husband seem to benefit my mental health.  He has never accepted the fact that I have bipolar disorder.  That has bothered me.  However, his complete lack of stigmatizing me is good for my mental health.  Alfredo says that one thing that makes mental health worse is the stigma we experience.  My marital relationship is certainly something to cherish and work on.  My husband is 75 years old, so I must accept that our relationship may not be really long-term.
However, let me enjoy my relationship now without getting worried about the future.  Mindfulness practices seem to help me stay in the now, rather than getting me caught in the past or future.  Resuming Insight Timer, I now have nine consecutive days of mindfulness practice.  Re-focusing on my morning routine, which has meditation as one of its activities, has brought this about.  
So the answer for now is to stick to my evolving routines.  They are not the same every day fortunately.  I need to check myself lest I evolve my routines too quickly.  Otherwise, I will omit an important practice in favor of something new.  I have done that a number of times or abandoned my routines entirely.  Slow and steady wins the race.


Dear Lord,
I am grateful for the thoughts of Alfredo Zotti who suffers from bipolar disorder himself.  He believes that recovery is possible.  He believes that you can still have symptoms in recovery, but recovery means that you have a meaningful, productive life.
His idea of method acting is worth considering.  Actors take on the actual emotions of their characters.  Writing a script for myself, actualizing the setting and props, and choosing a character with emotions worth emulating would be a worthy practice.  Let me give that full consideration.  I will put it in my little black book.
Abraham Lincoln suffered from manic-depression.  His character is worth emulating even though I hope I will not be as depressed as he was.
Lord, today I have been a bit tired.  
However, that could be a good sign.  If I was tireless, I could be trending into mania.  I always want to do more and more and more, but that is dangerous.  To enhance my environment, I plan to follow the rules outlined by Leo Babauta.
  1. Set three MIT (most important tasks each morning.
  2. Single task (do one thing at a time).
  3. Process inbox to empty.
  4. Check email 2 X daily.
  5. Exercise 5-10 minutes.
  6. Work without distractions.
  7. Follow a morning routine.
  8. Eat more fruits and veggies.
  9. Declutter desk.
  10. Say “no” to commitments not on the short list.
  11. Declutter condo 15 minutes daily.
  12. Limit emails to 5 sentences.
Lord, help my readers to create a beautiful environment for themselves using the power of their thoughts.
If you would like to join me in this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.
KaeLyn Morrill

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