“I’m tired of life, all I want to do is lay in bed and sleep forever.”
“OMG!! Stop thinking bad thoughts.”
“Why am I so lazy?”
The above monologue is an example of what goes through my mind every time I sit down to do anything important or spend time with myself. My mind gets ‘out of control’ with a mash of random, irrelevant thoughts that do nothing except drain me of the precious energy I need to live a good life.
I’ve come to discover that I’m not the only one who has this problem; it’s quite the general phenomenon. And being Nigerian and living in a country like ours leaves people with little choice but to do the Nigerian thing: Suck it up.
Sucking it up is a very valuable skill to possess; it’s easy because it allows you deal with important issues while postponing less urgent ones. But an ‘out of control mind’ is deep rooted and long term problem – it may even be a life long problem. Sucking it up on the other hand is a short term solution.
For human beings, short term solutions and deep rooted problems don’t mix well.
At this point, these questions may cross your mind:
“How is having an ‘out of control’ mind an issue?”
“I’ve been able to get along fine without controlling my mind so what is this deep rooted problem we have to solve?”
Well, how important this issue is to you depends on four factors: your temperament, your level of emotional intelligence, your lifestyle, and how you respond to the people around you.
Based on these factors, there are two groups of people.
- The first group can be described as ‘happy people’. You’ve probably noticed them at parties, dancing by themselves and not giving a hoot about anybody else, or at your workplace, singing to themselves, while they tackle a complicated task. They don’t hold grudges, they’re usually very honest, to the point of being blunt, they rarely worry about anything and they are very chill company to be around.
- Then we have the second group of people – I’m one of them – who are more unhappy than happy. They tend to overthink every single thing. They are usually introverted and spend 80 to 100 percent of their time in their heads either remixing the past or daydreaming about the future. This group of people are the ones this article is addressed to because they tend to get stuck in their minds and assume that what is happening in there is actual reality. So when their thoughts begin to get negative (as thoughts always do), gbege hits the fan and they become slaves to imaginary masters. For them, this is exhibited as irrational anxiety, unexplainable panic attacks, depression, anger, a feeling of emptiness, addictive behaviors, bad social skills and other diseases of the mind.
So for those of you who belong to this group, how can you get help?
Like I said earlier, sucking it up is one way dealing with an ‘out of control’ mind, but as was earlier mentioned, it’s a short term solution to a deep rooted problem.
So what are the actual solutions?
The first is visiting a psychiatrist or any trained professional who can reach into the dark and scary hallways of your mind and help you get out of there or help you tame it. However, the mental health industry in this part of the world is still on the come up and there’s a certain stigma attached to admitting that you need mental help. I hope that this changes in the future.
The second solution is adopting a ‘Do It Yourself’ approach, and I will recommend some practices.
Disclaimer: I am not a trained psychiatrist, and these practices are from my own experience and research. They have worked for me to some extent and they may work for you too.
And, like they say, what’s the harm in trying?
So, here they are:
This is basically the art of writing down your thoughts in a private notebook. It’s about letting out the negative energy and clearing your head so you can focus. Your words don’t have to be elaborate or fancy; in fact, no one has to read it. You can write out those thoughts that you wouldn’t dare tell anyone, those thoughts that haunt you and rob you of your peace.
Although it’s not compulsory, reading your journal can be very helpful. Because journaling reveals what is really going on in your mind, you’re bound to write down stuff you might not even admit to yourself. So reading it allows you track your minds activity and possibly come up with a more permanent solution to your ‘out of control mind’
Does this come to your mind when you hear the word ‘meditation’?
A shrine like environment with Buddhist monks sitting in cross legged positions and chanting some weird words in a bid to summon the devil.
It’s actually not that deep.
Yes, Buddhist monks meditate.
Yes, they sit in cross legged positions.
No, they do not try to summon the devil.
And most importantly, No, you do not have to imitate their posture unless you want to become a full-fledged practitioner.
Meditation is a way to train your mind. It has become a topic of study in the medical field, and it has been found to decrease, increase lifespan, and a provide a whole host of other benefits. Click HERE to see how you can start meditating today.
I’m not going to say much here, because God knows there’s nothing new to say. You already know the drill…
Pick an exercise program, one that is easy enough to maintain and that is hard enough to slightly stress you.
Stick with it until you get comfortable.
When you get comfortable enough, add more complicated stuff till you find yourself getting buff.
On a more serious note, exercise is one of the best habits you can have; the benefits are immense: longer life, a stronger heart, a clearer mind, more energy, higher levels of self-discipline and so on. Seriously this is not something you want to sleep on.
- Read books on Psychology:
Psychology in my opinion is probably the most important science of the 21st century. Physics is cool and all, but we’ve reached a point where most of the new discoveries have little impact on human well-being.
Psychology, however, is the science of how the human mind works; it’s like a manual that tells you about yourself and how you operate. In a world where everyone has an opinion on what the right way to live, knowing yourself and what makes you tick is the best way to help yourself.
Plus, for much of human history we’ve been walking blind when it comes to human behaviour. It’s about time we had more concrete answers on who we are and how we work.
After all nothing beats knowing how to be your best self.
Those are just a few of the practices you can employ to help tame your mind. Try and see which of these four practices work for you. But as you do that, I’d like to point out that mindlessly applying these practices is also a short term solution.
If your aim is just to silence your mind, then you might not be very successful, because the aim of these practices is to increase self-awareness – know what’s happening inside your mind.
When you know your mind, you will figure out why it gets ‘out of control’. You will know your triggers and how to prevent them. It’s only then that you can change it for the better.
On this note, I leave you with my blessings.
May your journey to free yourself from your mind make you happier and healthier.