5 Easy to use tips to shut out the noise inside your mind
Can’t stand the noise inside your head?
Does it wake you up in fear and dread?
Do you worry and get all stressed?
What about that knot deep in your chest?
If only there was a way to have it end.
If only there was a way to easily transcend.
Well, don’t let your mind keep you wake,
Here’s 5 easy actions you can take.
If it would only be quiet maybe I could get some sleep!
You know what it's like when you are sitting in a movie and the person next to you is giving you a running commentary about the movie? Don't you just wish they’d shut the ..@#!& up?
Well, what about those nights where you lie awake, can't sleep because of the negative self talk commentary going on around and around inside your head, driving you crazy.
You've got one eye on the clock and as much as you desperately want to go to sleep, still you have that voice telling you all those things you should be doing and pointing out all the things you can't. On and on and on it rattles, painting a bleak picture of the future.
Notice how the more you wish it would turn off, the worse the remonstrations and recriminations get and the more frustrated you feel.
Till finally out of desperation you get up and maybe go make yourself a hot drink and then try and distract yourself by watching a movie or maybe jumping on social media. Anything just to detract from, and suppress the anguished voice in your head.
Well here are 5 practical and easy to use tips you can use to tune out and shut out the noise in your mind without resorting to any dysfunctional distractions or substitutions.
Recognise that you are not your thoughts - you are the thinker of your thoughts.
Make a list of everything that’s working in your life right now.
Write yourself out of your funk.
Soothe your inner child
Systematically lower the emotional intensity of what you're feeling
The 5 easy to use tips to shut out the noise inside your mind
1. Recognise that you are not your thoughts - you are the thinker of your thoughts
There is an ongoing mental dialogue going on inside your head? Whilst this incessant chatter may sound like you...and you may even believe it is you, is not actually you. You are not this voice. You are not your thoughts.
Just like you are not your car - you are the driver of your car. You are not your thoughts - You are the thinker of your thoughts.
The voice you hear inside your head is the sum total of all the programs, thoughts and beliefs you have downloaded from all you’ve been taught since coming to this earth.
We call this voice Doris. You can call your voice Doris or Fred or Brutus. It does not matter what you call it, simply give the voice inside your mind the silliest name you can think of.
Call it Ebinenzer or Norbert, Millicent or Blanche (No disrespect to anyone intended).
Simply by giving the voice what you perceive to be the silliest name, creates a separation and frees you from owning the thoughts and chatter going on in your head.
ACTION: Give the voice in your head a silly name.
Just by taking the action of detaching yourself from your thoughts by separating from them, you can give yourself instant relief. In the book “Who’s Controlling You?”, you will learn how to simply and easily separate yourself from your thoughts. You will discover how you are not your Doris.
2. Make a list of everything that’s working in your life right now.
A few years ago I went for a heart check up. After a whole battery of tests the specialist tells me that I have a 13.2% chance of having a heart attack over the next twenty years. He then proceeded to unpack and put all of his focus on the 13.2%. This went on till finally I stopped him and said, “Why are we spending so much time on the 13.2 %? What aren’t we focusing on the 86.8% chance that I will remain well and healthy over the next twenty years?”
How rarely do we invest our time to think about the everyday things that fill our lives with joy and happiness, most of which we, more often than not, simply take for granted? How rarely we invest our time focused on the majority of things that are working in our lives, rather than sweating on the small percentage of things that may not be going our way.
Gratitude as a principle for a healthy life has been scientifically proven to increase one's happiness and one's health. Gratitude has been shown to create deeper relationships as well as increase one's productivity and so much more.
Right now, in this moment, think about your heart. This incredible organ that began beating just 22 days after you were conceived and will in most cases be the last of your bodily organs to switch off when you leave this world.Through all the joy and heartache, stress and times of ecstasy, your heart has been there, pumping away. Incredible! Something so vital to our existence, yet simply taken for granted, until one day when it's gone.
ACTION: Every day write out at least twenty “Grateful's.” What's working for you in your life right now?
“I am truly grateful for my heart, I am truly grateful for my shoes, I am truly grateful for my son’s health...etc”.
The research shows that if you will do this simple exercise, first thing in the morning and last thing at night just before you go to bed, it calms the mind and within days the warm light of possibility will start to spread and engulf you.
You’ll be amazed at how the very act of writing out a list of all you have to be grateful for is very often enough to free the mind and allow yourself to get to sleep.
Plus the habit of focusing on what’s working will keep you in a much happier, less resistant place.
3. Write yourself out of the funk
Did you know that the act of physically writing out your thoughts on paper will go a long way to calming “the mind”.
ACTION: Take out a piece of paper, or your journal.(This technique works best if you use a traditional writing instrument, so you don't have to engage with a “screen”. Numerous studies have shown that engaging with electronic screens actually disrupts sleep patterns. Besides, there are all those juicy distractions just waiting for you on your computer or phone which you are trying to avoid).
Begin anywhere. Start writing out whatever’s going on inside your head right now. Just get it out of your head and onto paper. If you are feeling anxious, write about your anxiety. Just simply write, giving expression to your thoughts and feelings.
Do this without any self criticism or judgement. Don't worry about your hand-writing, punctuation or grammar. This is not school and there’s no teacher looking over your shoulder. Keep writing without editing, till you feel you have exhausted the subject.
Here’s a thought starter example...“I am feeling really anxious about my job. I know that they are cutting back on staff and I feel like my job is right in their firing line. What will I do if …..etc.”
Now when you're’ done with writing about your first subject, write about whatever else is coming up for you. Just keep on writing till you feel complete and have given vent to all the negativity going on inside your mind.
That now done, you have created the space to slowly begin shifting your writings, morphing into “what’s working” in your life right now. If you can't think of anything that’s working in your life right now, simply focus on the smallest and most mundane things. “I love the fact that I have hot water and can take a nice long hot shower. I love how easy it is to access the music that I love. I love how my dog loves me unconditionally...etc.”.
You can also write about your dreams and goals. That said, if writing about your goals causes any feelings of resistance or internal stress, then move away from the specificity of them. Your lens has become too focused and just like a magnifying glass capturing the sun's rays it's causing too much heat. If your goals are creating the stress then simply write from a place of “Wouldn’t it be nice if….” or “I wonder how it would feel if …”
Just keep on writing till you reach a place of calm and you will be ready to fall asleep in no time.
4. Soothe your inner child.
Imagine if you took a four year old and locked them in a dark cellar? What would they do? Well it's likely they’ll scream, bang on the door and have a tantrum. They’ll keep this up until finally they realise that no one's coming. Then they’re likely to crawl into a corner and lie in a foetal position in a state of learned helplessness and fear.
So it is with your inner child. Every time it has voiced it’s fears or made demands, it’s been pushed down into an extreme corner of your mind. There it lies in a state of fear and anxiety. The only time it hears from you is when you judge and berate yourself for “being silly, stupid, idiotic” etc.
Your inner child needs some compassionate attention. It needs to be soothed. Let’s face it if you've left your inner child unloved, scolded and uncared for, locked away deep inside you for years, there’s probably not a whole lot of trust going on there between both of you.
Unfortunately that same small four year old you keeps finding ways to obstruct the flow and trip you up in your life. The easiest of which is to keep you up at night with fear filled thoughts. Until and unless you can learn to self-parent your inner child like the way you wish you were parented, that little boy or girl inside of your psyche, will keep being obstructive and cause you stress (and sleepless nights).
ACTION: Here’s a simple exercise to begin with.
Simply place both hands on your heart space and say the following in the kindest and most soothing voice, out aloud if you can, “Of course’ you should feel this way! I'm sorry, I love you.” Say it like you mean it. Say it over and over again, until you feel a sense of calm wash over you and watch the voice inside and the stress evaporate.
5. Systematically lower the emotional intensity of what you're feeling
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” ― Marcus Aurelius
There is a very simple exercise you can use to to lower the intensity of your emotional turmoil as you lie awake at night with your mind going crazy.
First realise that many words carry an emotional energy charge to them. Unfortunately for most of us, we have a limited emotional vocabulary.
By way of a simple example: Feel the emotional energy of the word NO! Now feel the emotional energy of YES! Did you feel it?
Most of us will use the same limited amount of words to describe how we are feeling. Think about it. When asked in the morning why you couldn't sleep, we typically say things like, "I was stressed, overwhelmed, my mind was going crazy, fearful, anxious, doubtful, depressed" etc.
The psychological sciences tell us that in fact it’s not necessarily the word itself that causes us the grief, rather it’s the meaning we’ve assigned to the words we choose which impacts our thoughts and feelings.
As an example. What if, instead of the word ”stress,” you replaced it with “disquiet” or “stretch”. Simply by changing how we language our feelings, we can reduce their intensity and calm ourselves down enough to go to sleep.
Here are some other examples:
Angry- Change to peeved or miffed
Frustration-Change to fascination, bothered or bugged.
Hurt - Change to dinged or fazed
Rejected - Change to challenged or unappreciated.
Notice how you can reduce the intensity of the emotion simply by languaging it a softer way.
ACTION: Write out all the emotional words you may be feeling. Then open up a thesaurus and find a softer synonym/s to describe what you are feeling. Then when you're done finding a word that doesn't carry as much voltage, look up that particular word in the thesaurus and find an even softer word. Now, “rinse and repeat” until the intensity of the emotion is nothing but a slight irk. By lowering the energy charge of the words you tell yourself, will give you enough space and peace for you to go to sleep.
By applying one or all of the above tips to help you quieten down the voice inside your mind means that tossing and turning and mentally stewing as you desperately try and sleep, will soon become a thing you used to do.
The more you apply these simple tips into your life in general, the greater inner peace and joy you will discover.