Your survival brain is constantly storing patterns of associations so that it doesn't miss something potentially threatening. When it recognises a pattern, then it creates feelings - a combination of sensations and thoughts - to trigger a behaviour that "worked" in the past. This is why you find yourself waiting until you feel like doing something to do it.
I started my journey to publicise the book in New York. Everyone tells me they love New York, to me it's a gang rape on the senses. I want to confess war crimes after being kept up all night listening to trash trucks clanging. I took the subway late one night after a show, waited two hours for the right train and witnessed bedlam; feral people were howling like wolves...
It's so ridiculously easy to become lost in somebody else's dream; to go from the dreamer, to the dreamt and to go from a creator, to the created. It's way too easy to forget that we are our own authorities and that none of our thoughts, feelings or actions need to be co-signed by anyone else. It's so damn easy to forget, but so f*cking important to remember.
If after your efforts you happen to win a gold medal, trophy, bonus, hit a bulls-eye you'll get such a main line smack of dopamine you'll probably be addicted forever and spend your life hunting down the next hit at any cost. As humans we're natural born addicts when it comes to some of our neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenalin.
Do you ever find yourself rewinding the movie you're watching over and over again? Do you have to read the same paragraph multiple times? Most people are unmindful several times a day; simply being unaware of their surroundings or what's going on. Practicing mindfulness improves both your mental and physical health.
Stand up straight. Smile. Say hello to strangers. Do something kind. Appreciate experiences, not stuff. Say thank you. Set clear, concrete goals. Pay attention to the small daily pleasures. If this sounds like advice your grandmother might give you -she would be right in line with what scientific research has to say about happiness.
One of the first symptoms of depression is when you can't make any decisions. Choosing which direction to walk is overwhelming, looking at a menu is like going on Mastermind. Eventually your brain gives up, it has no more room, you've scored 'game over' hit your full capacity like an over stuffed hoover bag before it explodes.
As the avalanche of hype about the miracle of 'mindfulness' rumbles on, I think of an old Woody Allen joke about a man who visits his doctor, complaining that his hand hurts when he shakes it. The doctor's advice? 'Don't shake it'. I fear that the same avoidance strategy lurks beneath the mindfulness movement.
I began to feel the worry as a physical sensation - it would start as a warning prickle in the top of my head and then spread like fire until it extended all across my scalp. This, I supposed, was a panic attack - but there was little I could do to stop it. As time went on, anxiety morphed into paranoia - the attacks happened more and more frequently, and the fear of them happening became all-encompassing, almost as bad as the symptoms themselves.