Quieting the Frenzied Mind

I just realized I haven't posted once in the month of August. This is my half-assed attempt to remedy that.

Lately, I've had a lot of trouble shutting my brain up. It's always a problem, but for the last few days, it's impossible. My mind is going a mile a minute, jumping from one thing to the next, and I'm unable to concentrate on the task at hand, which of course, is the book.

Of course, Restless Mind Syndrome is not new to me. In my early twenties, I wrote a poem that included this line:

"Even in the center of the bustling crowd, the screams in my head remain ever loud."

Right now those screams are pretty much blocking out everything else.

I used to go for a run when things got this bad. The fatigue seemed to have a calming effect. But at the moment I'm unable to do any sort of exercise that demands that much physically. A glass of wine helps, but frankly, I have to drink more than a glass to get the desired effect.

So I turn to you, gentle reader, for advice on how to turn off those voices. What do you do when you're having trouble concentrating? A hot bath? A shot of whiskey? A run on the treadmill? Tell me what works for you.

Holly West


  1. For me, it has to be a book. For more than 20 minutes–it definitely takes that long for my brain to settle into the story. And a hot bath–but it only really works if I bring a book along. I seem to need something to–not necessarily calm my brain, but to push the other stuff away for a while.
    Hang in there–how much longer till you can do exercise, with your knee? Are you allowed on any gym equipment at all, that might let you work up a sweat and send that to your brain?

  2. Metadate CD. Though I don’t think you have ADD, so I doubt that would work well for you.
    Like you said, running helps. Since that’s out, I suggest nookie. Either solo or with the one you love. Sounds strange, but does help. It actually shuts down every circut in your brain for about a second. Maybe giving you a little “re-boot?”
    Writing also helps me. Not a novel or blog, but journal. Just writing what I’m feeling, taking some deep breaths, or even coloring in a color book all help me clear my mind.
    Last suggestion: There’s some great “white noise” sounds on iTunes that are helpful. I personally love “White Noise Meditation” by Ocean Wave Entrainment. The sounds are all produced in a particular wave pattern to relax your busy mind. Alpha waves, Theta and Delta. I listen to the Alpha when doing homework and the other two for anxiety or sleep.
    Good luck!

  3. A book might work. I’m a few chapters into “The Hunger Games” and well into the story, so perhaps a nice lie down with it will help.
    I can do some gym work, but to get in the car, drive to the gym and all is a lot of time. I’ll save that for a super-emergency brain scream situation (aside from my regular workouts, of course).

  4. I will look into the White Noise Meditation. That sounds really interesting and maybe just what I need.

  5. Being from the same mold, I too have the same issues. I can’t tell you how much my new CD’s help me focus on writing. I also created a station on Pandora that plays classical type music, but not full on Classical. It has stuff like Philip Glass, David Garrett, Michele McLaughlin and Escala. I listen to it when I write and it really does make a difference in my productivity.

  6. I love Philip Glass Morgan, but find that classical music can actually make me too emotional and creative. Feed my mind so to speak. I do much better with just “white noise.” Rain, ocean waves, etc…

  7. I downloaded Thunderstorms and Ocean Waves. It’s weird how your mind tunes out the noise and in the process clears it and allows you to concentrate. Definitely helped today, hopefully it’ll keep helping.

  8. My husband is a pianist so when he is stressed from school and work, he sits down and does what he loves-plays piano. Playing piano is actually his work too but he loves it so much he just relaxes by getting to sit there and play piano! I get so jealous sometimes because I feel like I struggle to find something that I want to do when I am stressed to help me relax. I like reading but feel like I can’t focus on it when I am stressed. Maybe I should try the calming music and then read! His music is nice sometimes to listen to and read; however, oftentimes he finds that playing scales helps him relax which I do not find very relaxing to listen to! When he plays his music then it is nice!

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