Saturday, November 30, 2013

Racing Thoughts

post by Kerrie

 Every night when I go to bed, I have to corral all my thoughts and settle them down in order for me to get any sleep. Like horses at the starting gate, they anxiously wait for the gate to open and the chance to run. As my eyes close and I seek out deep REM sleep, my thoughts quiet down, but are ready to go at a moment's notice.

Before the sun peeks over the horizon each morning, my brain must sense that a new day is near and without my permission, opens the starting gate in my mind, and my thoughts race out, full speed ahead. I try everything I can to get them stop or at least slow down, but once they are out, trying to reign them in feels like a hopeless venture.

I yell at the thoughts, telling them it is not time to get up yet, but they don't listen. And once they know I have noticed them, they start jockeying for attention, creating more chaos in my mind.

  • Remember to pick up milk at the store later
  • Dinner with April and Curtis was fun last night
  • I have to start working on that article today
  • Have a holly jolly Christmas. It's the best time of the year...what's the next line? I can't remember the next line. Have a holly jolly Christmas
  • I wonder what the weather will be like today?
  • Did I send out that email to Kelly yesterday?
  • I love how quiet it is right before the sun comes up
  • She looked down the barrel of the rifle, waiting for her prey to make one false move
  • Where did that thought come from? That's creepy
  • Breath deeply, think only of your breathing. That will make the thoughts go away. Breathe...
  • It might make a good opening to short story.
  • Have a holly jolly Christmas
  • I wonder what the kids want for Christmas
  • It's the best time of the year...
I usually lay in bed for about an hour until I can't stand it anymore and then I get I get up. If I write down all the "to do" thoughts in my little notebook, those thoughts disappear, leaving fewer racing around in my head. But it is still a challenge to quiet my mind. Some days are definitely worse than others. 

I know I am not the only one this happens to, but I wonder what all of you do when your thoughts get out of control. Any thoughts on the subject?


Lynn said...

This is SO universal! I'm a morning person, so if my thoughts start racing any time after about 5 a.m., I give up trying to deal with them and get up. Go to my journal and let them loose.

When the thoughts get going before sleep or in the middle of the night, I try visualization. I have a number of peaceful places (from memory and my imagination) and I go there in my mind. That usually helps.

Patricia Stoltey said...

My mind does this to me, too. I have two techniques that quiet "busy brain" and put me to sleep. I focus on naming all of the U.S. states in alphabetical order. Or I pick a state and try naming cities that start with the 26 letters of the alphabet. Those activities require concentration and memory, so they push the other stuff out of my brain.

Anonymous said...

You forgot about the 2014 conference . . . isn't that just around the corner? ;-)

Kerrie said...

Great ideas Lynn and Pat.
April, you are just plain evil. ;-)

John Paul McKinney said...

Don't you love it when people say, "What's on your mind?" Not!
I use the image of a raft. I put all the extraneous stuff on the raft and push it out into the lake.

Sarah REICHERT said...

I am like this too often in the day. My poor husband probably thinks I'm already in the early stages of dementia for the random, disconnected things that come out of my mouth. "We need to get milk... Did you know that the human head weighs ten pounds. St. Croix has bioluminescent bays. We should get a fish. Don't forget its your step-mom's birthday in three weeks."

I can't speak for other authors/writers, but I know I cram a lot of information into my brain on top of the to do lists. Its no wonder there's rarely a peaceful moment. I organize it by list usually, to help relieve the pressure. At night I have to calmly tell myself that there's nothing to be done but sleep and I can worry about the rest in the morning. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, it works.

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