Change the story (DW#716)

We have been discussing ways to quiet our busy brain so that we can we rest and sleep.

Todays’ practice is one that I find most effective.

Sometimes, when I am feeling really frayed or the buzzing thoughts are very persistent, it is really challenging to settle down. I find that body scans, breath focus or imagery does not work as well as I would like it to. My brain seems to be insistent on telling stories and getting into the nitty gritty of today’s happenings or tomorrow’s schedules.

At times like this I find that I need to distract myself from my own stories and get lost in someone else’s. And for this, I find that listening to audio books or podcasts works really well.

So the next time you find meditating, body scans or other methods are not working, try listening to something. (Watching TV does not work well for all the reasons we have already discussed)

It is best to choose something that’s overall pretty even-keeled (even monotonous), without too many intense sound effects or aggressive voices, or too exciting. It actually doesn’t matter too much what you listen to. It does not have to be boring or even calming. It just needs to be interesting enough so that your brain would rather listen to it than to its story.

There is also a side benefit – if you do not sleep, you will at least be listening to something valuable. This is how I do it: I tell myself that if I am not sleeping, I might as well catch up on something that I have been meaning to listen to and may have downloaded. I might as well learn something if I am not sleeping. So I start listening and it is very rare that I stay awake through the whole thing!

So go ahead and set a sleep timer on your Audible or podcast app for about 30 minutes. Hopefully you will find that you doze off long before this time.

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