Oh how scornful I used to be about naval gazing! “Naval gazing is for sissies” (I’d say). “People who always look inward are boring” (I’d say). “Self-help books are naff” (I’d say).
My how times have changed. I am now the queen of naval gazing – I love it! I’m lapping up as many self-help books as I can get, listening to as many podcasts and TED talks as I can, talking to people about real emotional stuff whenever it’s appropriate, reflecting on my own feelings often, pausing and ‘checking in’ with myself regularly…if this is naval gazing then consider me a convert. I love it all.
(I also watch a lot of Reality TV, read trashy magazines & cookbooks, dance to cheesy pop tunes and gossip about mundane matters regularly – I’m fairly well-rounded I like to think!)
I’ve gone a bit crazy at the library lately thanks to many great recommendations from Living Sober members, and I’ve been loaned some great books recently as well. Check out the pile that is currently on my bedside table…
Ok so this is rather ridiculous and I’m not sure if I’m going to get through all of them but it shows you the turnaround in my reading habits & interests since I got sober.
But the truth is that this shit works. Feeding my brain with different opinions, attitudes, experiences & techniques actually works to help keep me calm and happy as I move about my life. It makes me more mindful of my moods and my habits.. gives me food for thought, techniques I can try, approaches I can take. Or if nothing else it just lets me know that being a human is really difficult and we’re all in the same bloody boat!
I watched this great clip of Daniel Siegel on Sunday morning (see what I’m like nowadays!), he is so clever & fascinating but also very relatable and easy to follow. He’s a big advocate of reflection or what he calls ‘time in’… he actually goes so far as to say “The willingness to look inward can significantly affect our physical health”.
Well hooray! Not only has sobriety saved my liver, but my new ‘naval gazing’ ways is also improving my physical health. And without a doubt my mental health as well.
I think now of the old, boozy me as being quite emotionally stunted..(having alcohol as my constant companion my whole adult life stopped me from developing any proper emotional management strategies) whereas the new sober me is slowly morphing into a much more emotionally connected, self-aware and calmer person able to properly connect with others.
It’s fucking fantastic. Have I mentioned before how much I love being sober…?!
There are some great naval gazing recommendations in the ‘Managing Feelings’ page in the Sober Toolbox.. please feel free to add some more here – I know I have a lot of reading material right now but I’m always open to more suggestions! And I’m sure others will be interested to hear your recommendations as well…
Love, Mrs D xxx