My mind is constantly moving at a hundred miles an hour. Seldom does it slow down enough for me to remember taking breaks is a good thing, let alone to actually take one. This insistence of my brain to always be a hive of activity is useful for the more creative pursuits I spend my time on, writing stories, making music, composing poetry. But it can be a hindrance when carrying out the more mundane tasks, data entry at work, hunting for places to live, washing clothes, being ready on time.
For the majority of my twenties I struggled with depression, often manifesting as a lack of self worth and motivation anything, let alone the things I know I love. Even during these years my mind ran fast. The problem was, it was thinking of all the things I hadn’t done, or all the things my depression told me I was incapable of doing. Thus, this heavy time, filled with lots of dark emotion, proved a fruitful time for producing poetry. Even during my lowest ebbs, I was able to channel my mind into productive creativity.
The time was filled with all manner of noise. Most of it my own mind yelling over the top of the still small voice within my soul. Something needed to change.
Over the course of the last five years (which includes the latter two years of my twenties) I’ve actively sought to manage this cacophony. Like I said, amongst the noise there are productive ideas for creativity, waiting to be found and turned into beautiful things to share. But I cannot let my mind run on its own to find them. If I fail to acknowledge the times when I am running out of spoons, including and especially when my mind is running away on innumerable tangents, I will break down and cease to be useful to anyone. Most importantly I will cease to be useful to myself.
The best way I have found to do this is through silence. Within and outside myself. No screens, no people, no books, no music. Tune out, turn off, and simply be. During these moments I find myself drawn to God, to engage in slow, deep and meaningful conversation. Sometimes I just listen. Other times I speak more, but still inhabit the silence around me whenever I pause. Sometimes I write thoughts down. Other times I simply lie down and let my thoughts flow, without trying to uncover meaning within and behind each one.
Walking to and from work can be especially noisy. There are lots of other people around, plenty of traffic, and my mind often drifts to what I’ll do when I get to where I’m going. For the past year I’ve been working at being present in the moment, where I am, without headphones. As well as making walking safer because I’m more conscious of my immediate surroundings, my mind is not drawn inwards so much, but out towards other people around me. I offer everyone a smile, with no expectation of one in return, but a quiet acknowledgement if they do. And when I get to where I’m going, I take however much time I need to arrive well before getting stuck in.
This is one area where I’ve made small changes to my behaviour and found positive results for my mental wellbeing in return.
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Where do you find the most noise in your life?
Are there times you need to turn off and give yourself a break?
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You’re doing good, so keep on keeping on being awesome. PEACE.