In the past few months I took some time to evaluate:
- What I do or consume on a regular basis (books, music, games, tv shows, Twitter, etc)
- What really brings me joy
One thing that has been sitting in the back of my head for a long time (not fully examined) is that the content I consume has the power to change my mood and even my interests for a certain period of time – which is one of the reasons why I make a point of reading my quotes and self-advice regularly.
When I started to compare what I do/consume on a regular basis and what brings me joy, I realized that there was a huge discrepancy. One clear example is that violent/dark content (games, movies, tv shows) – which is something I tend to consume a lot – makes me feel sad, anxious, and upset, at least slightly (which in some circumstances is all that it takes to create a bad day); playing some Doom or listening to some heavy metal bands (again, something I enjoyed doing every day) would make me more tense, anxious, and overwhelmed – even if I felt like doing it! Watching some particular episodes of Game of Thrones would make me feel physically sick, even if I was very curious about it.
After experimenting with that, I decided to try the opposite and only consumir chill, silly content… and it works! I started joking around, smiling more, humming to weird songs, and I found out really effective ways to improve my mood and make almost any day a “good day”.
Some things I’ve removed:
- I don’t watch dark/violent/dramatic movies or TV shows. No more The Walking Dead or The Game of Thrones. 13 Reasons Why? Never.
- I don’t play games that make me feel anxious, tense, or overly excited. No more Doom (or most other FPS games), no more fast-paced violent games.
- I don’t read fiction books that makes me feel bad. American Psycho for instance… holy shit, what the flying fuck was the author thinking?
What did I do instead? I started looking back and trying again things that made me feel happy and relaxed in the past… like watching anime, playing Animal Crossing, and listening to goofy happy songs. Some examples per category:
- Games: Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, Terraria, and Phoenix Wright Trilogy. All silly, (largely) non-violent, and cute. ✨
- Movies and TV shows: I scoured reddit and YouTube for “chill anime” recommendations and found some great ones! I recently finished “Gekkan Shouko Nozaki-kun” and “Mushishi”, and I plan to watch the original Dragon Ball again (before DBZ). I also started Little Witch Academia but I have some mixed feelings about it, not sure I’ll continue.
- For music, I’m super into game soundtracks now. I’ve been listening non-stop to the OSTs from Stardew Valley, VA-11 Hall-A, and The Crypt of the Necrodancer.
- As for books, I’ve removed from my Kindle every book that I “should” read for self-improvement and bought a bunch from my favorite genre: cozy mystery! I’ve been reading a lot of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle and I love it. I’m also going through a bunch of comic books and mangas including Calvin & Hobbes and Dr Slump, which are definitely some of my all-time favorites.
As with most of the improvements I achieved recently, this is related to mindfulness and is far from perfect: I still catch myself feeling angry for no reason after doing a long sketch of work while listening to Children of Bodom. As someone said, unconsciously we don’t want what’s best for us, we want what’s familiar, so I need a conscious effort until silly/chill replaces my current “default setting”.
PS: I wrote this on a bus ride without a good way to review or add links. #YOLO.