2024-06-29: keep things simple when you start DMing

i wish the first few times i DM’d a D&D game, i used a prewritten campaign. i think it would’ve helped me focus on drilling a subset of skills (like “interacting with players”, “playing NPCs well”, “yes and’ing”, and “controlling narrative pace”) within a very well controlled environment, and then once i had those skills in place, i could start working on worldbuilding and writing fun and compelling narratives. if i DM again, it willd efinitely be out of a splatbook

2024-06-29: some places seem unwelcoming not because you are unwelcome, but because they are already whole

sometimes it feels like a place or hobby is “not for you” or “not welcoming” but actually it is simply self-sufficient and not hungry for new people. powerlifting gyms and club/social dancing come to mind as extremely high ROI communities that will not go out of their way to advertise themselves, are scary for many people because of their somatic focus, and are remarkably status-indifferent compared to most other activities for the same reason: they encourage being in your body. same with meditation, yoga, etc. the trick is believing this sufficiently that you try it out.

2024-06-29: love is not earned

the thing that feels so good about being a savior or caretaker in a relationship is that you feel that you have earned the love you’re being given. but it’s a trap, because you cannot earn love

2024-06-29: do not hide

if you’re having trouble keeping your bedroom clean but it’s easy to keep public spaces clean, try leaving your bedroom door open. This is an extension + subtle version of my thoughts around making your practice an extension of your goals instead of the other way around

2024-06-28: body dysmorphia feedback loops

I think that (at least cis) body dysmorphia has a physiological feedback loop of “i’m concerned about this body part” -> “i spend more of my attentional budget on this body part” -> “senses for this body part are heightened” -> “this body part feels more conspicuous”. when i lift, i find the dysmorphia largely disappears because it quiets the runaway feedback loop of “sensing” -> “thinking about” -> “sensing”, plausibly because a hormetic stimulus like heavy lifting downregulates any overactive senses by providing a sufficiently larger stimulus, so the mental noise (in the signal sense) has a smaller relative amplitude.

2024-06-28: thoughts on that depression meta-analysis

It’s not a great quality analysis and likely smuggles in some bad or faked data, but there was a review of the literature of interventions for people with depression and dancing was a huge outlier in effectiveness (twice as effective as most others!), followed up by walking, CBT, and yoga. Link here

2024-06-18: unsolved question

When we say “It’s really annoying that exercise/meditation/going outside/eating healthy make me happy”, what are we pointing to?

Where is the annoyance coming from? Once we acknowledge that we’re frustrated at ourselves for knowing the path to happiness and being unable to reliably seek it, how do we understand ourselves differently?

Are we afraid of losing some aspect of who we are? Are we afraid of failing to be happy so we’d rather not try? Is it simply neurochemical, a frustration that we’re designed in such a way where we regularly forget how happy the happy-making things make us, but we somehow get pulled into depressive bingeing and addiction holes on the regular? If so, is it anger at the world or anger at ourselves?

I think there’s a really valuable find somewhere beneath this common expression that could help us understand why we don’t seek happiness.

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