My brain never shuts up. Seriously. Never.
It was recently pointed out to me that when our brains stop thinking we are most likely dead.
But why does mine have to be so damn loud? It is like a freight train in my head. ALL THE TIME.
It’s not like it is even productive thinking. It is largely just noise to second-guess and confuse me. A long running favorite is what I call the Mary Sucks Game Show. My brain will troll out mistakes I have made, embarrassing moments, or even just close calls like guests on a Where Are They Now TV show. Of course there are the favorites, that time my name was spelled wrong on my resume (I got the job anyway) and that million-dollar budget error at work (totally fixable no damage done). There are so many drunken escapades to choose from, my brain could run “drunk” week the way Discovery Channel does Shark Week.
Only a few things have ever been able to quiet and slow down the freight train.
- Booze and drugs. Everybody’s favorite escape. Alas, these are no longer options for me. They both stopped working and were quickly leading me to the ultimate quiet.
- Intense exercise, I suspect this is due to the resulting exhaustion and endorphins. This also leads to injury. (I also don’t have an off switch).
- I love the idea of meditating. I read and listen to books about mediation. I like to talk about the value of mediating. Sometimes I actually do it.
There is only so much intense exercise and mediation one can do without being a professional athlete or joining a monastery. So, what to do with all this crazy? I started by just turning the channel from the Mary Sucks Game Show to funny episodes of the Simpsons that I remember. This seems to help. So I experimented with more channels, memories of visiting the Grande Canyon and a visit to NYC with my best friend. Eventually the Mary Sucks Game Show viewership was down. The show still runs, but only once in awhile, like a bad 1980’s movie on a Sunday afternoon.
Then I discovered some by podcasts by Jack Kornfield and came to accept that my brain is just loud and “talks” a lot. Maybe the best long-term approach would be to try and make friends with it – accept my thoughts for what they are: loud, ridicules and sometimes straight up lies. Thoughts, like emotions and feelings, don’t require action. If I don’t hold on to them, they pass. Just like changing the channel. Time to get on board.