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Tom

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I found that the tricks I learn from reading David D. Burns's Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy are immensely helpful. I'd encourage anyone wishing to improve his mood's baseline to give it a try. I like to think of it as my mental maintenance toolbox.

Going to look into this. :)

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Day 139. A fantastic day! I took a day off because of a school meeting and also because I wanted a break. I'm now very aware that many counterproductive behaviors are consequences of stress and that many times in my life I pushed myself too hard. I'm blessed to have changed my situation so much, to a point where I can take a day off when I need it instead of working myself to near-death to make ends meet. This is one of the most important lessons I learned in life: if your environment is wrong for you, and if your attempts at improving it fail, get out. It's like a fire: put it out if you can, but run if it's all around you!

So today I relaxed like a king. I went outside with my wife all morning and I played guitar all afternoon. I wanted to work on my technique and learn a couple of challenging songs. My elder son was fascinated and wanted to wait until I finished before going to bed. I hope he himself will find pleasure in learning.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Pantera. They are legends.
  2. The weather was perfect and I was outdoors.
  3. My son's school is good with him.

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Day 140. I didn't sleep very well (my son woke me up) and today I found it challenging to keep motivated. I was also in a bad mood this morning due to a thing that made me resentful, although I was aware that I blew it out of proportion. But a poor night's sleep sure must be only a part of it.

I talked it over with my wife and reinforced my belief that I'd better take action sooner than later. I need to be more outdoors and physically active. So I'll start doing a fake commute before and after work.

I'm also wondering whether buying a daylight lamp could be beneficial. Any advice?

All in all today went well. I matched almost all my weightlifting records and enjoyed a great evening watching TED streaming with fellow TEDx'ers, including my wife. No energy at work is a big minus though. I could also have spent more time with my children.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Wonderful company tonight.
  2. Liquid chalk is exactly what I needed for improving my deadlift.
  3. Being friends with my wife.

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Day 141. A good day. I walked in the woods before work and I've been productive at work. No walk after work because I might have caught a virus or something, so I just took a shower and relaxed a bit instead.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Walking around a beautiful lake.
  2. Sticking to my decisions.
  3. My ergonomic chair.

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Days 142, 143. Good days. I definitely caught something so I'm not at peak performance. Friday I was tempted to take a sick day, then I thought: there's so much I have to do, and I like doing it. What would I do instead? Read, watch something... Whatever. I worked from my bed and got a lot done. Pats on the back for skipping weight training: no point in taxing my body any further.

My wife encouraged me to start playing in a band again. She's right: I miss it and it's good for me. This time I want to play hard rock and metal, so I'll brush up my guitar skills rather than playing the keyboards like always.

Today I went to a friend to celebrate his birthday, with my wife and kids. We had a great time and met some new potential friends. We spent all day there.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Good morale.
  2. Heavily distorted electric guitars.
  3. being friends with people of all nationalities and walks of life.

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Will you grow a metalhead hair? I'm wondering what you'd look like with it B|

Haha, I'm turning 34 this week and I'm definitely not of Nordic ancestry... No more long hair for me :D

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Days 144, 145. Good days, bad nights. Racing thoughts and child's screams aren't very conductive to rest. Sunday I've been a full-time mattress tester. I have the distinct feeling that the tweaks I've done to my deadlift technique last Wednesday are pure nonsense, at least in the way I carried them over. I caught up with some people over email and kept entertained (and isolated) by watching instructional guitar videos.

Monday I felt much better. I had a nice walk in the morning, had a lighter breakfast than usual (knowing I wouldn't lift later), and worked. I took breaks by playing guitar and talking with my family. After work though I just wanted to get into bed again, and so I did. Had a good time playing with the children before bedtime.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Being so close to the woods. Walking there as often as possible is the new habit I'm consolidating.
  2. Good TV shows. Sometimes escapism is necessary, and it's fun sharing this time with my wife.
  3. Xiaomi. Good, reliable tech at incredible prices.

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Day 146. I woke up on my own around five. I enjoyed my morning walk in the woods, ate breakfast, and started work early. It was quite nice that I could take longer breaks during the day. I spent some time with my family, played guitar, read a bit.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Hot/cold showers.
  2. Eating home-cooked meals all the time.
  3. Niche communities being very helpful when scouting for information.

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By the way, are you half-reversing your grip while deadlifting?

Only on my last set. I think I started at around 90 or 100kg. Now I can hold 120kg with chalk and regular grip although it's quite a challenge. No way I'd lift 140kg without a mixed grip.

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What's the advantage of reverse-grip?

A mixed grip cancels the rotation of the bar. With a normal grip,l if your grip strength is not enough the bar will push your thumbs open and fall off. With a mixed grip (one hand facing towards you and the other away from you) the bar doesn't roll and the thumbs cease to be the single point of failure.

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Day 147. OK, I'm officially ill. Tomorrow I took a day off. I'll stay in bed and do no physical or mental activity. And reflect on the importance of shifting gears.

Hard decision: no weight training this week and the next. Then I'll be off to a business trip. Knowing the fitness rooms at the hotels. there won't be much to challenge me. I'll go easy on myself and concentrate on getting back into top physical condition.

Today a colleague and I were talking about habits. The subject of gaming came up. Without going into much detail, I explained to her how quitting gaming had a positive effect on my life, and how it started a process of progressive elimination that makes me happier every day. She was inspired by my story and asked me about practical techniques. I told her about being deliberate, planning alternatives in advance, marking progress, and being kind to ourselves. She told me she wants to give it a try by going thirty days without alcohol. I'm glad I could help someone.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Going to the office today.
  2. My boss calling to tell me he's planning on giving me new responsibilities.
  3. The old X Files. I'm watching them for the first time. What a good show.

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fellow TEDx'ers

You have a TEDx talk?

No I haven't. TEDx The Hague has a particular format: we meet once a month to watch and discuss a selection of videos. My wife and I curated one of the evenings and it was good fun.

Sometimes we also hold the "regular format" TEDx, with live speakers in a big hall and no discussions. I'm giving it a thought to put myself forward as a speaker.

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  1. The old X Files. I'm watching them for the first time. What a good show.

I'm doing the same! I've already seen a number of episodes but it was so long ago that I can barely remember them.

I see that you've blasted through the 90 days target and just kept on going. Can I ask why you've continued to update your journal? A quick glance through some of your recent updates, and I don't see gaming mentioned at all. Is it about self-development as much as anything? 

Edited by Mark

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Days 128, 149, 150, 151. Big flu, bad flu. And on my birthday. I had to cancel a table at a place aptly named... Murphy's Law! That at least made for a good laugh with my friends.

So I just spent the last days in bed. Played some guitar. Watched a ton of music videos and documentaries.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Modern solid state amps being awesome value for money.
  2. My wife for taking good care of me.
  3. Birds chirping outside.

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 I see that you've blasted through the 90 days target and just kept on going. Can I ask why you've continued to update your journal? A quick glance through some of your recent updates, and I don't see gaming mentioned at all. Is it about self-development as much as anything? 

Great question! As you say, it's all about self-development. Gaming was just one aspect of my life I wanted to work on. Journaling helped me put my priorities straight and keep myself accountable.

I did mention gaming occasionally, when I had intense cravings, but there were not that many. The fact is simply that gaming is not a part of my life anymore, nor something I think about that much.

I also hope that my posts can be of some help to whoever wants to see how such a long journey can unfold.

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 I see that you've blasted through the 90 days target and just kept on going. Can I ask why you've continued to update your journal? A quick glance through some of your recent updates, and I don't see gaming mentioned at all. Is it about self-development as much as anything? 

Great question! As you say, it's all about self-development. Gaming was just one aspect of my life I wanted to work on. Journaling helped me put my priorities straight and keep myself accountable.

I did mention gaming occasionally, when I had intense cravings, but there were not that many. The fact is simply that gaming is not a part of my life anymore, nor something I think about that much.

I also hope that my posts can be of some help to whoever wants to see how such a long journey can unfold.

It's great to have a perspective from someone who is further down the line in their journey. I am here primarily for self-development, and as I've mentioned elsewhere, part of me thinks that I will return to gaming in some capacity (e.g. single-player games only), but after completing my detox, I may be in a situation like yourself where I don't see gaming as part of my life anymore.

Edited by Mark

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Days 152, 153, 154, 155. Recovering from the flu, and right in time! Sunday I'm flying out and it will be some intense two weeks. Gaming has nearly never crossed my mind during these days, and when it did it was so that I could dismiss it with a "nah".

Gratitude journal:

  1. Having a comfortable bed.
  2. My fingers getting faster on my guitar's fretboard. Scales and metronomes are king. And Kerry, of course :D
  3. Weird dreams.

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Days 156, 157. Good days. I'm ready to leave for my two-week business trip. It's going to be interesting! Formerly I would have played HearthStone in my room for at least the day's grind. Now I'm packing extra books and music.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Going to Africa. It's going to be a key experience in my life.
  2. A friend giving me a collection of French independent music.
  3. Dark chocolate.

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