Sometimes I feel a momentary sadness that makes it difficult for me to get out of my recliner and do something that requires concentration, focus, and energy—like writing one of these blog articles or reading philosophy. However, I have discovered some techniques that allow me to overcome my inertia and get busy.
One way is to distract myself by watching an hour-long documentary or TV episode. It doesn’t take much effort to stream a show, during which the sadness dissipates and gives way to the motivation for a harder task. Or, I can listen to a guided meditation and raise my energy level.
Another distraction technique is simply to talk with someone. A conversation with my wife or brother can lift my spirits. I’ve thought about phoning Bill Thompson or Bob Elmendorf in moments of ennui, but I’m always afraid that Bill will talk about coding and statistics or that Bob will want to discuss Greek verb tenses.
There’s also the possibility of taking a brisk walk that causes endorphins and norepinephrine to start circulating in my brain, stimulating me to later undertake some challenging mental task. There’s a problem with this method, however. I must first get out of the recliner before I can start walking. That’s a problem!
Of course, we all have our moments of listlessness and lethargy. It would be wrong to worry too much about this common experience unless it is continuous and deepens into depression. And our Quaker faith reminds us that there is a joy in
life that transcends sadness.
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