Useful Bits of Advice

Turn Down the Noise


My natural instinct is to distrust everyone.  If you give me a compliment, I think you’re lying and want something from me.  If a girl sends me a picture, I ask who else she sent them too.  If you pitch me a business deal, more than likely I assume you want to rip me off.

I find myself becoming insecure over the littlest things lately.  Everyone is out to get me.  My business partners want to screw me, friends are lying to me, women are holding things back from me.  It’s an insane amount of paranoia.  I haven’t been this far off the mark in a long time.  It’s addict behavior at it’s finest.

My mind is going a million miles a minute trying to figure out every angle every person is playing.  I waste more time in a day playing out these insane, nightmare scenarios in my head than I spend on making my life better.

I want instant gratification.  If I don’t get immediate results something must be wrong.  I want to control everything and everyone.  My thoughts are racing and I can’t find peace.

That’s when I know it’s time to take a step back and slow down.  I can’t  have any serenity when I can’t be in control of my thoughts and actions.  I needed to write this post as a reminder of how to get myself grounded again.

There are only a few ways I know how to silence my evil master (my mind).

  1. Be cognizant of what you allow to enter your thoughts – You can’t stop something from popping up in your mind, but you can choose whether or not to pay attention to those thoughts.  As soon as you recognize you are allowing negative thoughts to play out in your mind, change the channel immediately,  Don’t let scenario’s based on fear and anger play out in your head.  When you stop giving them the energy they need to survive, they fade away and die out.
  2. Label negative thoughts for what they are – I have OCD, not the compulsions, but the obsessive thoughts.  The same scenarios get stuck in my head and replay continuously.  I have to remind myself why this is occurring.  Simply telling myself, “It’s not me it’s my OCD” has a powerful disabling effect on my ruminations.  It may sound funny, but it’s effective.
  3. Get Busy – DO NOT inundate yourself with menial task so you don’t have down time.  Being busy for busy’s sake is not what I’m talking about.  Instead, do things that are new and exciting that you enjoy.   Start a project you have been putting off, work out, read a book, write. This forces your mind to focus on the task as hand.
  4. Get Moving – Physical exercise has saved my sanity on many occasions.  On top of all the endorphins exercise releases in your body, it’s hard to focus on your thoughts when you’re struggling to move heavy weights in the gym.
  5. Meditate – Get yourself into a comfortable, seated position and become still and silent.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing – slow and steady.  In through your nose and out through your mouth.  You will probably hate this at first, I know I did.  However, It’s an investment that has paid dividends in my mental health.  It helps me work on one of my biggest character flaws, reacting instead of responding.  I have a short fuse and it ends up causing me pain in my life.
  6. Write – Get your thoughts down on paper so you can see with your eyes what’s going on in your head. Write down what is bothering you and what evidence you have that these events are able to cause real damage to your life if they unfold. Very few events can have long term, sustainable effect on your life. This will become more evident as you partake in this activity.  Seeing the words in front of me is usually enough to make me realize what’s a real threat and what I have created in my mind. This takes the power away from all the imaginary issues and allows you to focus on what truly is important and urgent.Writing also it forces you to take a deeper look at the root of what is bothering you.  For example, I had a blowout with my ex recently.  I was upset because we had plans to spend time together this weekend and now it looked liked it most likely wouldn’t be happening.  When I put it down on paper I realized I was upset over a couple trivial things: I felt like I lost control of the power I felt I had over her, I was looking forward to a weekend of good sex, and my ego was hurt.  The only important aspect of the situation I was truly upset about was my inability to control myself.  I reacted instead of responding.

Quieting the noise in my head is a process.  I experiment daily to keep it to a minimum.  It’s a practice I have to keep on top of and constantly be aware of what is and isn’t working.  Eventually the noise quiets down and is pushed to the side for the time being.  Staying diligent and mindful of my actions and thoughts is the key to maintaining mental peace.

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