The Need for Psychic Environment Mastery

I’m writing this on the verge of tears. I’m tired of trying to make ends meet and have no control over my own sense of peace. I keep having to work around other people’s windows of time just to have some quiet time. In the morning, it’s a constant struggle. I have to keep track of four other people’s routine just to have the kitchen for myself and enjoy my breakfast alone. Besides the stress of having to think about this every single morning, I still have to deal with the additional stress of when I’m not successful and I’m not able to savour ten minutes of quiet and solitude to breathe and eat.

After breakfast, I also have to keep working around other people’s noise. I never know when I will be able to sit down and record my podcast episodes, my youtube classes or videos. Then there’s the neighbors voices, outside construction work, the church bell that plays every thirty minutes, and the commercial flights that are now more frequent. I can’t do anything about the flights, I can’t do anything about the church bell, I can’t do anything about the construction work, and I can’t do anything about other people’s behaviour. The inability to create an adequate environment to work and live throws me out of balance, almost daily.

Environment mastery, defined by Carol Ryff as an individual’s ability to choose or create environments suitable to his or her psychic conditions, plays a huge role on our mental health and wellbeing. I’ve tried my best to ignore and adapt myself but I think it became too much for me to handle. Yesterday I relapsed again and I binged on ice cream, chocolate biscuits, and crisps. I’m overweight, I’m waking up with back pain, I get really stiff throughout the day and, no matter how much I walk or stretch, the over generalised pain doesn’t go away. What is it trying to teach me then?

I always did my best to avoid conflict and confrontation. Wrong move. I built myself on the assumption that my job is to adapt to whatever the circumstances are. Noise, heat, cold, trespassing, abandonment, envy, disrespect, cheating, and abuse. I never fought for myself and for I what I really wanted. I let circumstances drive me, and here I am, blaming my circumstances again. If each one of us is the creator of our own life though, I’m the one who is creating this situation. I’m responsible for my good and not so good choices. Family, friends, work. I’m the one who picked everything and decided I had to be contented with what I was offered.

I think we must accept life as it is but we must not get ourselves trapped by the idea we are not deserving of more and better. Yesterday I shared some good news with a friend and I was met with envyness instead of positive reinforcement. Two questions arise: where do I meet others with envyness, and where did I decided I don’t deserve more supportive friends? I know I have met others with envyness too, and not that long ago to be honest, so I get my karma. On one hand, I must reflect and correct my character, tame my own envyness, and on another hand I will probably be more careful with who I share my good news with.

Perhaps my main problem is indeed emotional sobriety. The lack of control over my own psychic environment, comprised by both physical and emotional factors, is probably what creates more stress within me and what in turn triggers me the most. The resulting stress then worsens my autoimmune problems and makes me a prisoner of chronic pain on a daily basis. How can I build a better psychic environment for myself then? How can I have more emotional sobriety and find a balance? Follow this space here because I know I’m going to find my answers and I will share them here with you. In the meantime, I will leave you with a notion of what emotional sobriety is.


Emotional sobriety encompasses our ability to live with balance and maturity. It means that we have learned how to keep our emotions, thoughts, and actions within a balanced range. Our thinking, feeling, and behavior are reasonably congruent, and we’re not in our heads, our emotions don’t run us, and we aren’t overly driven by unconscious or compulsive behaviors.

From the book ‘Emotional Sobriety‘ by Tian Dayton

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