A family father's path through life

Where are you and where are you going?
Family father
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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:26 am

A few things this time..


I think I have run out of dreams..

I mean, there is a list of things you want to do / accomplish in your life.

I started adding things to that list back when I was a child (things like being an astronaut, eating as much candies as I wanted...) and kept adding things along the years.

There is also a mechanism to remove things for the list:
  • Things that already done / accomplished dissapear from that list.
  • Those that aren't (or I don't consider) achievable (such as being an astronaut) also dissapear: maybe they move into another list of "things I couldn't achieve", but I don't feel that list annoys me at all, so for me it's ok.
  • There are also some that at some moment entered the list but over time didn't seem interesting enough or worth the effort / risk..
Now it seems this list has been shrinking for the last years and at some moment it let go the last one and since then it's been empty..

I can't really tell when it happened, but it may have been part of the reason of my distress in the last times.

I realized of this some weeks / months ago (I really can't tell), and since then have been thinking about the purpose in my life..

This week I was home alone, and have had time to think: I reached the conclusion that all I want from life is for it to go on as slow as possible.

I want to savor every moment I spend with DW, and the children.

Use the very little spare time I have in enjoyable hobbies.

The less enjoyable experiences or things I have to do, I want to do them the smoothest I can, and not to spend a second worrying or angry at them.

And that's it: I just want to enjoy every moment and everything as much as possible.

I know it may be difficult sometimes, particularly when the children test the limits, or in some situations at work, but I have a purpose!

I may not have dreams, but I have a purpose! :D

Measuring well-being

I'll try to track my Well Being using the "Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale" I saw in Wolf's journal. :shock:

Since I also tracked my well being in a custom made manner between January and February 2017, I wanted to check the data and draw the conclusions I could from them: then I tried to track my well being in general and then about different subjects (Work, SO..), and I also tracked sleeping hours to see if there was any correlation.

The few data show there seems to be correlation with sleep, being better to sleep around 8 hours, no less than 7.

It also shows that DW was the best part of my life... :oops: followed by family.. and last came work.

So now I'll add to the WEMWBS the sleeping quantity with a similar scale.

I'll also try to track the data twice a week (on my previous attempt I did it daily): one for workdays (tipically on friday) and one for weekends (mondays): let's see where does it take me... :)

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Zanka » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:39 am

Such a nice post! It seems like you are in a very nice place, I will give this some time and see What sticks for me:) thanks

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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by steveo73 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:41 pm

I like that post as well. I also don't really have any big goals I want to achieve. I just want to continue enjoying my life. FI is just a way to maintain the life that I have and I enjoy.

Family father
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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:47 am

Thanks @Zanka and @Steveo73!!

I have started working on the routine:
  • First step is to apply the learnings about sleep:
    • DW and I finish our evening chores between 22:00 and 22:30, so that would be the time to go to bed and read / recap..
    • No electronic devices after that time (there shouldn't be either before, since we are busy with kids and then dinning and tidying)
    • Go to sleep at 23 h
    • Waking up will depend on the kids.. ideally 7
  • Second is to work on some routine within work: when I start working on a serious task, I tend to focus on it until it's completed or I am tired enough, so it's the task what determines how long I'll be on it..

    I do it like that because it takes me a lot of time to concentrate in a task: for important ones, I feel I reach peak performance after about 1 hour, and stay there for two or three more (I choose quite well what to do and what not to, so as a result most of my tasks are the serious and important ones to me).

    It has a toll: I used to leave some tasks to do at home after dining, and then I'd go to sleep at 1, 2 or 3 am...

    This isn't compatible with the sleeping habits I'm working on, so I'll have to re-think how I work.

    I'm thinking about breaking the schedule in 1 hour parts, trying to find some "resting / disconnecting" activities between the big ones, but don't know if it really makes sense..

    Is it the right approach to break runs? or should I rather adjust the schedule to my way of working?

    The idea of "resting / disconnecting" between tasks seems nice, but: what do I look for? rest, disconnect or both? what do I need? and what for?

    I think there are still many questions here as to make any decisions: I'll have to keep thinking about it.
So, you see: WIP :)

Family father
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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:04 pm

Update on routines:

Over the years I've been interested in meditation many times, but never really got the discipline to get seriously into it.

Well, it seems now I've started doing so: I started reading one of the books I have at home and started practicing when I can.

This last week I've meditated 4 times so far:
  • The first two days I barely stayed for 5 minutes.
  • The third day I introduced the "Oh namah Shivaya" mantra and lasted 10 minutes: mantras really helped me stay.
  • The fourth I was quite tired, but I was for 7 minutes.
The book I am reading says you need about 6 month practice to really start appreciating the benefits: we'll see..

Family father
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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:51 am


I've been reading about work and breaks, and found particularly valuable the fourth resource in the previous post:
  • Downtime and particularly the default mode we fall into when "resting" our minds (Default Mode Network) is essential to mental processes that affirm our identities, develop our understanding of human behavior and instill an internal code of ethics:
    Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved tensions in our lives and to swivel its powers of reflection away from the external world toward itself. While mind-wandering we replay conversations we had earlier that day, rewriting our verbal blunders as a way of learning to avoid them in the future. We craft fictional dialogue to practice standing up to someone who intimidates us or to reap the satisfaction of an imaginary harangue against someone who wronged us. We shuffle through all those neglected mental post-it notes listing half-finished projects and we mull over the aspects of our lives with which we are most dissatisfied, searching for solutions. We sink into scenes from childhood and catapult ourselves into different hypothetical futures. And we subject ourselves to a kind of moral performance review, questioning how we have treated others lately. These moments of introspection are also one way we form a sense of self, which is essentially a story we continually tell ourselves.
  • The switch to DMN is much faster than one would think:
    The results revealed that the brain can fire up the DMN in the blink of an eye—literally. Every time we blink, circuits we use to consciously direct attention go quiet and the DMN briefly wakes up.
  • About the amount of work:
    Based on his own work and a thorough review of the relevant research, Ericsson has concluded that most people can engage in deliberate practice—which means pushing oneself beyond current limits—for only an hour without rest; that extremely talented people in many different disciplines—music, sports, writing—rarely practice more than four hours each day on average; and that many experts prefer to begin training early in the morning when mental and physical energy is readily available. “Unless the daily levels of practice are restricted, such that subsequent rest and nighttime sleep allow the individuals to restore their equilibrium,” Ericsson wrote, “individuals often encounter overtraining injuries and, eventually, incapacitating ‘burnout.’”
  • Naps:
    Long naps work great when people have enough time to recover from “sleep inertia”—post-nap grogginess that, in some cases, can take more than two hours to fade. In other situations micronaps may be a smarter strategy.
    A five-minute nap barely increased alertness, but naps of 10, 20 and 30 minutes all improved the students’ scores. But volunteers that napped 20 or 30 minutes had to wait half an hour or more for their sleep inertia to wear off before regaining full alertness, whereas 10-minute naps immediately enhanced performance just as much as the longer naps without any grogginess.
    An explanation for this finding, Brooks and Lack speculate, may involve the brain’s so-called “sleep switch.” Essentially, one cluster of neurons is especially important for keeping us awake, whereas another distinct circuit induces sleepiness. When neurons in one region fire rapidly they directly inhibit the firing of neurons in the other region, thereby operating as a sleep/wake switch. Neurons in the wake circuit likely become fatigued and slow down after many hours of firing during the day, which allows the neurons in the sleep circuit to speed up and initiate the flip to a sleep state. Once someone begins to doze, however, a mere seven to 10 minutes of sleep may be enough to restore the wake-circuit neurons to their former excitability.
  • And meditation:
    Just how quickly meditation can noticeably change the brain and mind is not yet clear. But a handful of experiments suggest that a couple weeks of meditation or a mere 10 to 20 minutes of mindfulness a day can whet the mind—if people stick with it. Likewise, a few studies indicate that meditating daily is ultimately more important than the total hours of meditation over one’s lifetime.

I don't remember the source, put apparently 7 to 9 hours covers the need for sleep for a big portion of the population (gauss is at play here).

I seem to be in the 8 to 9 side :)


I've meditated almost everyday 7 to 10 minutes

Family father
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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:00 am

Third resource on the post also seemed very interesting:
  • And how it may affect our thought process:
    "Constant stimulation is registered by our brains as unimportant, to the point that the brain erases it from our awareness," Lleras said. "So I thought, well, if there's some kind of analogy about the ways the brain fundamentally processes information, things that are true for sensations ought to be true for thoughts. If sustained attention to a sensation makes that sensation vanish from our awareness, sustained attention to a thought should also lead to that thought's disappearance from our mind!"
    "We propose that deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused," he said. "From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!"

Family father
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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:19 am

I found second resource unuseful.. maybe it was me.

The first had something:
But Gazzaley and Rosen forewarn that taking the wrong sort of breaks might make us more susceptible to boredom and may actually backfire by making us want to take breaks more often.
Repeatedly checking our phones when we get a tad bored can train us to check more often throughout the day.
The rapid rewards we get from skimming our newsfeeds alleviate boredom for a few moments, but they also teach our brains to seek out blips of joy the next time we feel a twinge of fatigue
So by reaching for our phones when we want a break, we may be training ourselves to do it again and again. In order to resist the onset of boredom and self-interruption at work, Gazzaley and Rosen suggest we avoid our smartphones and instead take breaks that restore the part of the brain we use to keep focused on our goals.
It recommends walking (in a natural environment if possible, but it also says watching pictures also seems to work), setting some time to daydream (talks about 10 minutes, but also has this link for 2 minutes that seems interesting), laugh and exercise.

It also talks about the 20-20-20:
Every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.

Gazzaley and Rosen explain the reason why this is beneficial is that it "…requires blood flow to brain areas that are not related to sustained attention."

The shift in blood flow across certain brain regions may be the reason why eye exercises are restorative.
Feels like enough learning about breaks at this point to make some decisions: next step will be to try to decide my approach to work breaks.

Family father
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Re: A family father's path through life

Post by Family father » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:45 am


Time to sum up!

It seems breaks are advisable, so I'll give them a try:

When I'm working on my own, I'll try to fit in 1 hour alarms so I can make different kinds of breaks (depending on the situation).

Mu choice of breaks would be:
  • Short breaks (1 to 2 minutes): the 2 minute webpage in the previous post, 1 minute exercise, snack and some of the mini-meditations:
    • recognize signs of personal stress response and relax
    • put emotions into words
    • smile a bit
    • focus on a few things to feel gratitude for
  • Medium breaks (7 to 10 minutes): walk around the factory, meditation and 7-10 minute nap.
  • Long breaks (more than 15 minutes): lunch & exercise.

I must re-shape my eating habits: always ate quite a lot and anything, but with the years (and kids) the amount of exercise has been drastically reduced and together with the less baseline energy expenditure after growth and minor lipid exchange due to aging.. I'll need to teach myself to eat less and better.. :cry:

(I'd like to lose 3-4 kg, but not in a problem there) :)

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