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How My 3-Minute Hour Glass Is Helping Me Feel the Feelings

by Xin Xin about a month ago in humanity

The 3-minute rule works for my mental well-being.

How My 3-Minute Hour Glass Is Helping Me Feel the Feelings
Photo by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash

Restless. I would wake up from my sleep, restless. This is my personal story, and I hope by sharing this, someone out there will feel better, knowing they are not alone.

The pandemic has become a roller coaster ride for my mental health. Words can’t describe the feeling. To sum it all in one word isn’t possible.

I tried everything, and I still do. Meditation has helped me. The best advice given to me recently by my friend, who happens to be a psychologist, is;

to feel the feelings.

My mind gets busy whenever I don't feel okay. My mind brings the past into the present, and my mind worries about the future. I know that it is a waste of time, both in the past and the future. We can’t do anything to change the past, and the future is unknown. All that we have is the present.

Yet, I can’t help it. I still succumb to my feelings.

I fixate on my feelings. I can spend hours and hours, even days can go by, and I am still analyzing my feelings. It can be paralyzing. I end up with nothing, as fixating resolves nothing.

Sometimes the feeling, whatever it was, will go away. But, there are days when the feelings linger longer, and I wish they would go away. You’re not welcome anymore. But, most often, these are the words spoken in my mind.

The only time I could function with a heavy load in my heart was when I was working on ships. Like most of you, I know you can relate to what happens to your psyche after a breakup. The breakup was hurtful. Betrayal hurts you like a knife. The only way I survived is because, at sea, you can’t call in sick, especially for days. You have to work 7 days a week, that is how it is on cruise ships.

The sea can be both cruel and calming. Unfortunately, I only had myself and a few friends who did understand the hurt, for the most part. But life continues at sea, well, until you finish your contract.

It was to be a contract full of great memories, my first time in Europe with the man I love. But by the time we got into Europe, it was over.

I did survive. Not only that, but I had beautiful memories of Europe. My heart was aching, but my soul was full of gratitude. I still remember the long walks alone in Florence, along with the many memories of Europe.

It took me years to find love again. In time, love happens (again). Time heals all wounds, the wise men said, and it does. To the brokenhearted, in time, your heart will find its way to love.

Sometimes I wish I could turn back time. But if I do, I know I’ll end up with the same mistakes. I would still be that person who fixates on his feelings.

The good thing about being a stay-at-home writer, I have more time sorting my things. I am a big believer in decluttering. I also follow Mari Kondo and her advice to discard the things that don't spark joy anymore.

The 3-minute rule works for my mental well-being.

By Fazly Shah on Unsplash

There it was, I found my 3-minute hourglass, although as much as I try, I can’t remember when and why I bought one.

I know, I have always liked the hourglass. It gives me a feeling of calmness and that time is both finite and infinite.

With an hourglass, you know the time has passed when the last grain of sand falls on the other side of the hourglass. Yet all you have to do is turn it over, and it gives you “more time.”

A feeling of calmness and that time is both finite and infinite.”

An idea came to me, and like any great idea, I know it comes from God through a whisper, and I am happy to share this with you.

Whenever I am not feeling okay, I look at the hourglass. Watch it as the sand settles. My mind drifts away. I’m not thinking of my feelings. I feel the feelings. The only rule I have set is that after 3 minutes, I have to do something else over time.

And if the bad feeling doesn’t go away, that I will deal with it later. But If I am anxious, I will spend another 3 minutes with the hourglass.

It is beautiful when we know we have limited time, we act, and when we realize we have infinite time, we hope.

The two things I know I need to survive the pandemic and life are acting and hope.

To act means to continue to function. I have given that assignment to my mind. To hope, it is for my heart to feel that everything will be okay. That the person I am now is okay. And that, it is okay not to be okay, something I learned from the Netflix k-drama of the same title.

When we know we have limited time, we act, and we hope when we know we have infinite time.

I have to love myself. I have to learn how to forgive myself. I have to learn not to be my biggest critic. Instead, I need to champion myself. I have to love myself deeper, love the parts of me, the parts of me that I ask now, to come home.

Each part of who I am has a story to tell. Each part can help me. The one that is always anxious, the one who is always thinking, and the one who is always worried, together they can help me move forward. I need not be afraid of my “little parts,” they make me who I am.

Do we feel with our minds or with our hearts?

I remember when I broke up with my boyfriend, it was a real pain. It was then, I knew why it was called heartache because my heart was in physical pain.

If my heart was in pain, my mind was helping my heart feel the feeling. So there must be a connection between our minds and our hearts when it comes to our feelings.

When I am sad, most of the time, there is no trigger for the sadness. Instead, it comes to me like a heavy cloud over my head. It is in my heart and on my mind.

Through the years, there will be triggers for some of my feelings. For example, I get anxious when I think of the future. This year is no different. It only made me more aware of my feelings.

It is confusing at times.

When I am overwhelmed, I use the hourglass. It puts my mind at ease, leaving the heart to feel.

The mind is good for many things, or if the brain is separate from the mind, the brain functions at all costs. It is in charge of taking care of the physical body.

The heart should be left alone to deal with the feelings. Then, the heart is more forgiving and understanding.

Lately, I have been listening to the song Unwell by Matchbox 20. Even when it was first released, I took it as my song, that hey, I am just a little unwell.

All day staring at the ceiling

Making friends with shadows on my wall

All night hearing voices telling me

That I should get some sleep

Because tomorrow might be good for something

My 3-minute hourglass reminds me of the passage of time, and the pandemic has shown us, our time on earth is fleeting. I have come to accept that my mind and heart are my timekeepers, and each second of what is remaining in my life is best to live to its fullest.


Xin Xin

Ever curious, writes fast, writes well.

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