I often wake up with a deluge of mental flotsam in my head - memories of conversations I'd rather redo or situations I'd like to rewrite. There's a virtual slideshow of grief and regret… no, not a slide show, it's motion picture on fast forward, running reel after reel of my blooper moments.
I lost a mother to mental illness and a father to Alzheimer's Disease, so I'm on a war path to stop the madness. We're all crazy some of the time. It's the normal people I really worry about. If you read my blogs you know that normal is nothing but a setting on your dryer. Sleep deprivation plays a huge role in keeping sanity at bay. Reason and logic are held hostage by the monkeys in our heads chattering as we try to sleep. Do you ever wonder why?
My friend Linda brought up a good point. If our bodies detox while we sleep - which is why we don't wake up smelling like daisies - why shouldn't our brains detox at night? I hear a virtual rock concert in my head as the blooper reel runs and I don't know how to stop it. I've tried deep breathing, meditation, reciting scripture - all of which works some of the time, but I'm about root cause. How do we program our brains to stop the blooper reel altogether? How do we stomp on it and destroy the tape?
Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf teaches that it doesn't actually take 21 days to create a habit, it takes 63. She writes that 75-98% of mental and physical illness comes from thought life (Switch on Your Brain, p. 37). Her solution is to train your mind to think on what you know to be true, because “if you don’t get rid of the thought, you reinforce it (175). Furthermore, “if you say you can’t or you won’t, this decision will actually cause protein synthesis and change in your brain to I can’t or won’t.” The last few chapters of the book explain exactly how to rewire toxic thinking and change your brain to something beautiful and immeasurably more happy. Check out these summaries of a few books that I've found to quiet the monkeys:
- Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf
- Think and Eat Yourself Smart by Dr. Caroline Leaf
- Crash the Chatterbox by Stephen Furtick
One thing these an all books on mind management have in common is the simple proverb that says as you think, so you are. When you experience a thought or emotion you want to shed, create a diversion, just like you would to lure a monkey into a cage. Focus on what's true and sooner than you think, the blooper reel will fade in favor of your highlight reel. Wake up from your blooper reel life and take my quiz to see if you’re fully awake.
What do you do to keep the monkeys caged?