For as long as I can remember, I’ve always equated drinking coffee with stimulating conversation.
That’s why now, when I find myself far away from family and friends, I reach for the phone the minute I put my Italian coffee pot on the stove.
Call it the need to have human contact or the need to interact, but whatever the reason, I always walk away from these conversations a little more knowledgeable…or a little more confused.
This morning’s conversation dealt with a rather disturbing observation that both my sister and I share.
It’s this: there are times that we are unable to shut off our brains.
It sounds crazy, but hear me out before you think we’ve lost our minds.
Have you ever gone to bed or tried to take a nap only to find you can’t because your brain just keeps bombarding you with thoughts, ideas, and random images?
You can almost hear your brain working as it shuffles episodes from your day or plans ahead for the next day, without so much as asking for your consent.
This invasion can take the form of conversations you want to have or wished you’d never had, or it can consist of rumination where you ponder the negative, blame yourself, or kick your own ass for whatever the reason.
You feel helpless as you try to quiet your mind so sleep will take over and you’ll finally be able to turn off your overactive brain.
And yet the reality is, you can’t.
One worry after another, creeps its way into your state of consciousness and you are unprepared to deal with the assault.
You try taking deep breaths, visualization, and repeating a mantra, but all to no avail; like the Energizer bunny, your brain just keeps going and going.
Now I’m not as simple-minded as to believe that you can actually turn off your brain like you would a light switch.
However, it would be good every now and then, to be able to close your eyes and drift off; to have your brain switch into “idle” mode.
But alas, I’ve yet to experience this.
The minute I close my eyes, it’s like I trigger neural activity and my brain begins to archive data.
I told my sister that this process is more exhausting than actually staying awake, no matter how tired I may be.
However, she told me that she’s not prepared to “idly” sit by and let her brain continue to pull a coup d’etat; sabotaging her attempt to get some z’s.
The only question is, how can we take back our power?
How can we stifle the incessant brain murmuring, shuffling, and filing?
We’ve come up with a list of things we are going to try in the attempt to declutter our mind and reduce the state of anxiety we sometimes work ourselves into.
~Exercise more so that we’re more tired and find it easier to fall asleep.
~Document our worries and fears in a journal so we can revisit them at a later time.
~Memorize the words of a poem or a song that we can recite when our brain starts to pull a fast one.
~Establish a word or image that will symbolize “stop.” This can be the image of stop sign, the color red, or even the word “stop,” and invoke this image or word when our brain becomes overactive.
~Concentrate on our breathing. And I mean, really concentrate by listening to the sound of our breath as we inhale and exhale.
~Read something inspirational before going to bed.
This is the knowledge I walked away with after today’s conversation.
And, I wanted to share it with you.