Week 44: Busy mind problems

I have always had an overactive brain. I talk a lot — and quickly. I can think about one thing and talk/type/text about another. I function better when multi-tasking than when single-tasking.

As such, I have always had a hard time winding down. I remember as far back as age 4 or 5 and telling my mom I couldn’t fall asleep. She would stand at the head of my bed, put her hands on my forehead and say, “Turn your brain off.” It didn’t exactly work.

Recently, one of my coworkers described this busy mindedness as an inability to “close all the tabs in my brain.” That’s a good 21st century explanation. To this day, I am completely incapable of falling asleep if I don’t first read for a bit to slow my mind down and “close the tabs.”

A good portion of the time, this isn’t really a problem. Sure, I’m always thinking about multiple things, and I’m usually doing multiple things, but I’m fine with that. I make a lot of lists to organize these thoughts/tasks and work through them. Running is great therapy for me because it is time to simply process my thoughts while my body moves.

My mind frustrates me a bit when I try to read during the day. There is something about reading at night in my bed that helps me slow down mentally, but when I try to read while the sun’s out, my mind is scattered in 17 different directions. I usually spend more time thinking of other things to do or people to call or errands to run than I do actually reading the words on the page.

And then there is yoga.

I love yoga so much. It makes me feel amazing, and it has done wonders for my body. But mentally, I am terrible at it. Yoga is all about clearing the mind. It is about leaving everything else off the mat. It is about focusing only on the movements and the breath. Essentially, it’s about being present.

I’m really bad at that. I’m quite good at yoga, physically, but every time I practice yoga, I am aware of how much I am failing, mentally. I’m thinking about my to-do list, I’m picking out outfits to pack, I’m remembering things I need at CVS, I’m brainstorming an email I need to write, I’m reliving a conversation, I’m thinking about food … the list goes on and on, until I catch myself in yet another failure to clear my mind. Maybe, one of these days, I’ll finally be able to create mental space during my yoga practice, but I’m five-plus years in, and it’s not looking good.

Sometimes, I wonder what it is like in other people’s minds: Do they have as many simultaneous thoughts as I do? How it is that they close the tabs so quickly to go to sleep? Really, it doesn’t matter one way or the other. This is the mind I have, and I am more than OK with that.

But as long as I continue putting my brain through yoga, it’s likely to be a bit of a struggle.

Endnotes:

Currently reading: The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

Currently watching: Catching up on The Affair and The Good Wife

Song of the week: Walk The Moon’s “Come Under The Covers”

Plans for the weekend: Headed to Santa Fe, where I am meeting and spending the weekend with my mom. She has done all the planning, but I’m expecting history and site-seeing and good food.

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