Procrastination -> brain fog & depression

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padma norbu
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Procrastination -> brain fog & depression

Post by padma norbu » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:18 pm

This is a pattern I have noticed in myself. Anyone else have it happen? It's actually a really big problem because even when you move to correct it by getting on a schedule, after several weeks boredom kicks in and it simply falls off slowly until you're simply not doing any of those things anymore and you're right back to where you were.

Quick example of how I "fix" myself (temporarily for a few weeks at a time):
- wake up early
- do exercises (I really like the 5 Tibetan Rites, even if they are not authentic)
- do some dharma practice
- get to work early and try to get a jump on things
- try to be mindful throughout the day, avoid too much coffee and take supplements for focus and depression like damiana tea and kanna

It's pretty simple, really. I'm not sure what happens, but at some point this just gets boring and I find myself a few days and then a few weeks into procrastination. Suddenly, simple problems seem insurmountable and I can't focus on work. I think it begins by not waking up and exercising, but I'm not sure what happens after that.

I've been avoiding prescription meds for the longest time because I really don't think I need them and I think they can make matters worse. I also don't generally feel depressed beyond reason. I mean, my situation is hard and life is pretty stressful, so it stands to reason my outlook wouldn't always be great, but I do joke around constantly every day. I also get bored easily and this leads to brain fog.

If I am not actively pursuing something, I get brain fog. It's tough to get out of it, too, because I feel like I'm in a natural "brain fog" state. I thought perhaps it was a nutritional deficiency, but I think I've pretty much covered everything it could be and blood tests show everything is healthy. I really think it's just an avoidance tendency that is really innate in my personality.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron

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padma norbu
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Re: Procrastination -> brain fog & depression

Post by padma norbu » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:29 pm

Actually, I didn't give myself enough credit there. I was following this routine for about 8 months steadily and only slowly got worse about it over the last 4 months. I haven't exercised at all in probably a full month now.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron

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Re: Procrastination -> brain fog & depression

Post by reddust » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:38 am

We could be psychic twins …. I have to stay away from the computer and write down a task list and stick to it…I used to be much more disciplined when I was younger. Now that I am older I don't care as much. Exercise is the best cognitive fog destroyer I know. I take a walk every day rain, snow, or sunshine. :namaste: Habits for me take about 2 weeks to establish and about six months to deeply imbed and a couple days to forget … sigh
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Procrastination -> brain fog & depression

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:55 am

So you buy kind of a crappy car that works okay but has already broken down on you more than once.
You put a lot of work into it and decide to drive to see a friend.
The first hill you come to, it barely makes it.
The second hill, it dies on the side of the road, but with some coaxing you get on your way again.
By the time you get to the last pass, you're out of gas, but you can see the your friend's house in the valley.
You knew you'd run out of gas or something would break down eventually.
Do you sit there gazing wistfully at your friend's house, or do you walk there until you can get your car towed?
You're probably going to scrap that thing, anyway!

The trick for me as a fellow brain-fogger has been in not relying on fabricated motivation or changing moods to determine everything.
I only recently noticed how obvious it is that practices based on causes, like choosing to cultivate mindfulness or metta, will eventually dissipate when their causes also dissipate. Darn it, dropped my damn desire to save all beings again! :toilet:
How much more unreliable is a vague feeling like motivation?
That's like your car crapping out on you... but you still have two perfectly good legs for walking.
For me, the value of practice is in finding my legs again, not in somehow making shiny new Dharma legs that I slap on there like the bionic man :rolleye:

And anyway, since you're not trying to condition some brand-new, better you that will fall apart when those conditions also end, what's actually driving the procrastination?
See if you can suss out the subtle dissatisfaction behind this lethargy or boredom (First Noble Truth).
Notice how it leads to searching for "something else, a better time later" without ever providing real peace or only temporary respite (Second Noble Truth).
You've already seen how when those feelings are absent from your absorption in exercise or getting a jump on work, their attendant suffering is also absent (Third Noble Truth).
And you've doubtless seen how the Dharma provides not only an analysis of what's going on, but skillful means to help your suffering, big and small (Fourth Noble Truth).

You're really doing a lot better than you think if you have the self-insight that your post shows. :cheers:

As someone who also can succumb to chronic fatigue or paralyzing mental torpor, daily meditation is vital.
So if you really are too tired and want to drop everything, at least keep daily meditation, as simple as you want to make it.
It doesn't have to be big or fancy, or particularly Buddhist. You already know how to just be aware... that's how you know you feel foggy or depressed in the first place!
If you can become intimately familiarized with your ups and downs, you can start to get a sense of how the mind illuminates and recognizes those states effortlessly, and remains uninhibited by them.
In this way, energy, brain fog, procrastination, are seen for what they are: conditioned things that you're aware of.
Beyond that, to the extent you identify, then to that extent you're hindered by unideal circumstances, and are necessarily dependent on these tricky, complex phenomena to turn out a certain way for you to practice or be happy.
Sounds like a gamble, doesn't it?

Hope that was remotely helpful :alien:

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Re: Procrastination -> brain fog & depression

Post by Ayu » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:12 pm

Maybe you have to look what is inspiring for the inner infant.
We think it's rediculous, but nothing is done really joyfully without the permission of the inner baby. :tongue:
I treat myself like my kids: giving some steepening incentive and some encouragement like "Well done!"
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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