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The Long Game - Issue #191

Taylor Somerville
The Long Game - Issue #191
By Taylor Somerville • Issue #191 • View online
“Everything turns on your assumptions about it, and that’s on you. You can pluck out the hasty judgment at will, and like steering a ship around the point, you will find calm seas, fair weather and a safe port.” —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 12.22
In my opinion, Aurelius is saying that it is not what people do to us that cause our reactions, but how we perceive it. We can give people the benefit of the doubt or we can assume the worst of others. One of the biggest issues in society right now is we assume the worst from the “other side.” Both sides of the aisle scream names at the other side, whether that is Fascist from the left or Socialist from the right. We are now through the election in the US and hopefully, both sides will begin to have compassion towards the other and compromise on issues, including politicians and citizens.
Assuming the worst from another person or group is an additional stressor in your life and does nothing to help build and foster growth. It blocks off our minds to other points of view. Why are we so quick to judge others? Why do we hold others to the same standards we hold ourselves?
One thing I’ve grown to realize is everyone is trying to do the best they can with the information they have. We are all trying to make it in this world and we never know what someone is going through. For example, when we get cut off in traffic, we believe that person is an asshole, we get angry, yell, and honk. What if that person is trying to get to the hospital to see a dying loved one? Even if they are just a jerk, for our own sanity, it is best to assume they need to be somewhere quickly. We can take a breath, let it go, and move on.
In life, when we see others making excuses or believe that they are being lazy or ignorant, it can anger us. When this happens, we need to refocus on how we act and not get caught up in other people’s actions. Reminding yourself to: “Be strict with yourself but forgiving of others” results in less stress and allows you to be open to others’ points of view. We cannot control what others say or do, we can only control our response. Give others the benefit of the doubt. You never know when you might need it yourself.

Facts aren’t necessarily over-rated. However, as the article points out, we did not evolve to handle the amount of information that is currently coming our way. We tend to move to the sources that only fit our opinion and weed everything else out. We can get in our own filter bubble and never see the same piece of information the other side is seeing. This leads to more extremes on both sides and the “ us vs them” mentality. “Each extreme point of view contains accurate facts about the opposite extreme and they feed off each other endlessly.” The reality is, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Sometimes we’re tired because our mind and body are rundown. Other times, we may be tricking ourselves into wanting to lay on the couch all day. The actions we need to take to remedy either of these are drastically different. If you’re rundown, you need to rest. If your mind is tricking you into laziness, you need to take action and get moving. In order to know what you’re actually dealing with, you must understand your body. You need to know what true exhaustion feels like and when you just need a kick in the pants. If you’ve been hitting it hard, take a break. If you’ve been feeling lethargic for a few days get out and move.
What Focusing on the Breath Does to Your Brain
“Several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.”
As we slow our breath rate down, we are able to increase our focus, attention, and emotional control. This is one of the reasons I have all of my clients check in with their breath a few times each day. This can be especially important if you are on phone calls or constant zoom meetings. Excessive stimuli, including talking, puts us in a more stressful state. By slowing down our breath rate for as little as 1-2 minutes we are able to become calmer and focused.
Before I go, checkout a few more links I found this week.
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In Health,
Did you enjoy this issue?
Taylor Somerville

The Long Game is a newsletter for people that want to grow and challenge themselves. It is about the drive to better ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually while having the curiosity to enjoy the journey. I will include articles, podcast, videos, and blogs on a variety of topics ranging from psychology, fitness, meditation, and nutrition. I am a certified XPT Coach, I hold the Art of Breath certification, I am a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and hold the Aerobic Capacity certficate. Checkout my website to learn more about the services I offer.

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