A lot of software, like the operating system on your computer, has a concept of self-checks.  You can ask it to run a predefined set of verifications and report on them.  And if there’s any flaws, it can often even fix itself.  In other words, the software is perfectly capable of fixing itself – it just never bothered to do these basic evaluations among everything else it had to do.

Humans can do this too.  I often find that if my mind goes to a dark place, there are, fundamentally, just a few possibilities in terms of what happened.  Oftentimes it’s because I’m not able to live up to being the person I want to be and need to adjust my expectations of myself accordingly.  Sometimes it’s because I’m very close to being the person I want to be and need a new goal.  Sometimes I’m just having an upset stomach and this sours my mood – lacking sleep and/or being unable to think clearly can cause a similar effect.

I also often find that writing and breaking down and analyzing my thoughts is massively helpful in making me feel better.  And that sometimes I just need a change of pace and do something different.

But I don’t always think to do these things.  So I came up with what’s essentially a self-check algorithm for myself:

  • Is your real self too far from your ideal self?
  • Is your real self too close to your ideal self?
  • Do you not have a plan for how you will improve?
  • Have you been living in a way that you are confident you can do what it takes to improve?
  • Have you written about whatever it is that’s upsetting you?
  • Have you spent too much time alone?
  • Have you been cooped up indoors for too long?
  • Are you having stomach issues?
  • Are you sleep deprived / is there a mind fog?
  • Are you measuring yourself by one of society’s metrics instead of your own?
  • Have you tried thinking positively and arguing against whatever negative position you are holding in your mind currently?
  • Are you throwing yourself a self-pity party?

The idea is that any time I’m upset, I can just refer to this and do a self-analysis to figure out what’s going on with me and then deal with it.  I expect this list will develop and grow over time, as I figure out / remember other reasons for why I could be in a bad mood.  But so far, this seems to a quick way to get myself in a good place again.


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