Listen, I am trying to write these work emails, and do this research for an article I have to write. Really, I am. But everything is terrifying and I don’t want to think about reality, so I’m afraid my mind has taken a little vacation where I only think about the meatball sub I’ve got waiting in the refrigerator for lunch. It’s made from a garlic bread hoagie roll for God’s sake.
As human beings, we develop coping mechanisms, and most of them are food related. Sometimes, you have half of a delicious, leftover meatball sub that you plan to eat for lunch close by in the office refrigerator, carefully labeled and sealed, but it’s only 9:00 AM. What do you do when you are pretty sure the only thing you care about most in this world is that tangy marinara? That hint of basil? Those grandma-made quality level meatballs? What do you do with the thoughts that kids have to do active shooters drills in school? That some people actually worship AK-15s in church and these are the same people who say they are “pro-life” I mean HOW DO WE COPE with waiting for the quadruple threat of sauce, meatballs, and a garlic hoagie in such a world? I have some ideas based on common advice or whatever:
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. There’s lots of evidence that mindfulness can help reduce stress as well, so give it a try when you start to feel that creeping sense of, agony, and stomach distress for the perfect combination of flavors you know you will totally wreck later.
Practice mindfulness through meditation. When you’ve had it with the ridiculous situation the world is in, and you’re trying to find some inner peace while accepting that you still have two and a half hours to go until you get a lunch break, stop being so frantic. Slow down and take deep breaths, and push away those thoughts. Picture your mind like an empty table, with no meatball sub on it, but maybe with a plate, and maybe a fork and knife cause you know that shit is gonna get deliciously messy. After you give yourself a break for a few minutes, go right into a work email, or crunch some numbers, or whatever task is the easiest way to keep surviving while your mind is clear (but still ready).
Help Others in Need
Focus your energy on something positive that you can do to help your fellow man. If you live where a disaster or tragedy took place, donate blood, or your time. Donate money to the Red Cross. Donate items to a homeless shelter, give someone in need a meatball sub, I mean, not the one you are going to eat for lunch, but acquire another one and spread the joy of that twelve-inch package of heaven so that they can also experience that kind of joy.
Eat the Meatball Sub Because You Deserve It
When you’ve tried meditation and mindfulness, helping others, and distracting yourself with actual work or other tasks, and it hasn’t really worked, just eat the meatball sub at 10:00 AM. It’s not like you didn’t try. Sometimes we try, and fail to be patient, but the downside to failing is that you get to finally get to hear the sound of angels in your own personal meatball sub heaven, temporarily drowning out your anxiety, while sitting in your cubicle, being watched by Doug one cubicle over, who is both envious and judgmental.