Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Overactive Chatter Brain

Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat!

This is a noise in my room. 

But it is also a noise in my head.

Sometimes, my thoughts feel like static.

...perhaps that's the real reason I started this blog...I just needed to find a way to spew out everything that's running through my mind and plaguing me...

Drinking also used to silence my mind. In the right amounts, alcohol allowed me to experience a relaxed mind and body.

Apparently not everyone has an overactive chatter brain, although it seems like my fellow recovering alcoholics are the people most likely to commiserate with me on this. 

I have noticed a few things about my physical and mental state when my brain is noisy and restless:

  1. I'm having trouble staying "present" with my thoughts - I'm either living in the past or the future instead of the now.
  2. There is too much stimuli in my life at that time - whether it be computers, Netflix, smartphone apps, or caffeine, they all have the same effect on my brain. 
  3. I am stressed and I'm not using coping skills to deal with it. As a default, I turn to any source of stimuli (#2) I can find that will distract me from the REAL problems I'm facing. 
The more high-strung and worried  become, the more likely I am to give in to stimuli to cover-up and ignore my overactive brain. This, in turn, causes more problems. 

And so the cycle of addiction continues. 

In The Missing Piece of My Heart, I mentioned the downward spiral of addiction. The vicious cycle of drinking to forget the things you did the last time you were drunk. This mental obsession - over anything - CAN be broken. It's not easy, and the individual must be committed to a developing a new lifestyle. 

When caught up in my "overactive chatter brain", these are the tools that work best to stop the chaos:
  1. Take a walk in nature. Walk slowly, feel how the earth moves under your feet, listen to the gentle noise of leaves rustling... There is no better way to re-connect with your soul than to connect with Mother Earth.
  2. Exercise. Any form of physical exercise - whether strenuous or gentle - requires your focus and attention. Pay attention to your form and you'll get out of that crazy head of yours in NO time! 
  3. Paint. I love artistic expression. It is the ultimate form of respecting my higher self and creative thoughts. 
  4. Yoga. Part of the challenge of quieting the mind has to do with removing yourself from a distracting environment. Yoga studios are serene thus removing all unnecessary stimuli. 
  5. Put your phone in a different room. No money for a Yoga class? How about you put your phone on silent somewhere COMPLETELY out of reach from you? Only for a short while. See what you can accomplish in 20 minutes, and notice if you feel any different. 
  6. Eat a healthy meal with low-sodium. We consume FAR too much salt in our diets. Try cutting back. If your body feels better, your brain will too. 
  7. Drink water. Most people don't consume enough water on a daily basis. We require a lot (especially if you drink coffee) since our bodies are mostly made up of water! If I have a headache, chances are that I'm not well-hydrated. 
What tools do you use?