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My Good and How My Mind Got Me Here. And There. And…

I trade emails from time to time with a very dear and wise friend. We commiserate about life and its ups and downs. We’ll check in to see how the other is doing. We remind each other how fortunate we are. When one of us is feeling down, the other will have some words of wisdom to soothe our respective weary or worried souls.

Her last reply struck a chord with my heart and inspired this post. I’d told her I’d experienced some insomnia lately. I don’t have anything terrible going on in my life, but there at times when my mind just goes spinning, one thought leading to another, until I’ve got a full-fledged what if, should’ve, could’ve, would’ve thing nagging at my grey matter. Sleep? Out of the question.

Rumination and Mind Wandering

When the mind ruminates, it ponders, muses, chews, weighs, and then does in all over again. Psychology Today defined it as “problem solving gone wrong.” Have you ever played a scenario over and over in your mind or lay awake at night thinking and rethinking something? You may be a ruminator or a mind wanderer.

Mind Wandering

Mind Wandering at its finest.

That might actually be a good movie or cable series – The Ruminator. The Mind Wanderer. I can see the graphics exploding on the screen now. Who should the cast be? Is the main character a woman or man? Is this a good idea? No? Yes? Or maybe. What if it is and I don’t do anything? What if I try to write a script and it’s a waste of time? What if I invest a lot of time in this or any idea and nothing comes of it? What if it does? What if I fail? What if I succeed? What will happen if I do either? Should I finish that short story I started two weeks ago or trash it? Why do I have this song stuck in my head?

The above is an example of a mind muse. It can go all kinds of places from there. Is it a good or bad thing? Depends on which expert you believe. According to a New York Times article, it’s good for your mind to wander here (creative minds need it) and there. I think the trick is to know when to rein it in.

Once I get on that treadmill, there's no turning back for awhile. Oh dear...

Once I get on that treadmill, there’s no turning back for awhile. Oh dear…

Face It. Embrace It.

I believe what may keep the worrying and ruminating in check is facing whatever it is that’s troubling you, no matter how mundane or significant it is. Whether it’s “nothing” or “something,” when you’re mind mulling over and over, it really doesn’t matter.

I’ve learned a method to face and embrace. It goes something like this:

It's mystery how this thing works.

It’s a mystery how this thing works.

There goes that thought again. I’m just going to let it simmer in here for a while and not try to solve anything. Just let the thoughts come and go. Breathe in and out.

I’ll listen to white noise. Chant a word or expression over and over. Say a prayer. Bring up a memory that makes me smile, laugh, and sigh with contentment. Read. Write.

The thing that I’m worrying, fretting, or musing about becomes less intimidating. They’re just thoughts—coming and going. Soon they fade and I begin to think of all the good in life. And there’s so much good.

Get to the Point

I’m getting to the point. At the beginning of this post, I mentioned my friend, the one I trade emails with pretty regularly. In one email, she’d written some words of assurance and encouragement to me. Then, she wrote about her good.

“My good today was…” she wrote. I love that. She told me a story about how she did something that changed someone’s life. It was extraordinary and I don’t think she knows how much it really was.

We hear that annoying and overused expression, “My bad,” a facetious, grammatically incorrect phrase used to indicate an apology.

I prefer the expression, “My good,” meaning every day we should be able to say something that’s good. It can be the simplest thing.

My good: I walked three miles and had a great idea. I was kind to someone. Let my husband know how much I loved him. Hugged my pups. Called my Mom and had a long talk.

However big or small your good is today or any day, it really can change the trajectory of someone’s life.

As far as ruminating, well, I’m letting that go. Let it go! Let it go! Isn’t that the song from the movie Frozen?

Oh no.

***

What’s your good lately? Do you ever have overactive mind musings? Do you think it’s good for the mind to wander? How do you rein in your wandering mind? What about songs that get stuck in your head? Do tell.

Here’s a catchy tune from the early 90s about freeing your mind. You know the one. Happy weekend.

Pictures: Pixabay

 

About Brigitte

Writer/Editor/Wanderer

Discussion

37 thoughts on “My Good and How My Mind Got Me Here. And There. And…

  1. I have those nights occasionally. In fact, I just had one a couple nights ago. From midnight to 2 am I was tossing and turning, unable to shut thoughts down and get any sleep. Finally, I just got up and read for a half hour. Normally I don’t do that, because one risks having even more sleep disruption, but it did the trick. Got my mind on something else, and a half hour later I was able to doze off.

    “My good”—I like that.

    Posted by Carrie Rubin | July 24, 2015, 12:13 pm
  2. There’s a lot to like here and a lot to comment on.

    I’ll start with a little bit of coincidence. I was also having difficulty sleeping for the past few nights (ended last night). No real explanation–not upset, plenty of exercise, no extra caffeine. When I can’t sleep, which fortunately, is not something I have to deal with regularly, I try to meditate, read, “daydream,” take a bath or, in some extreme instances, go out to my office and work. It sounds like you have good methods for dealing with it.

    I think it’s cool that you have an intimate with whom you correspond. Having good friends is SO critical; I’ve been very lucky in that department.

    I also think your “My Good” thing is a wonderful idea.

    Lastly, I’d like to share a Faulkner quotation about sleeplessness. I think about it on those instances when I can’t sleep. It puts everything in perspective.
    “Let him lie awake for a little while, he thought; He will lie still some day for a long time without even dissatisfaction to disturb him.”

    Posted by Smaktakula | July 24, 2015, 1:06 pm
    • Hey Smak and thank you. It doesn’t plague me ( insomnia) all the time but when it does, it’s frustrating. Taking a bath is also a good remedy. I’ve never heard that Faulkner quote but boy it does put it into perspective. I’ll remember that one! And you know, I love some introspective and wise quotes. Keep a book of them.

      As always, appreciate your insight and sounds as if you have plenty of good as well. Have a good weekend!

      >

      Posted by Brigitte | July 24, 2015, 1:31 pm
  3. There must be a tribe of us that was on the same unable-to-sleep wavelength recently since I’ve been dealing with this for most of the week as well. It’s slowly started getting better but as a chronic mind wanderer, the slightest thing can set it off. And like you, nothing terrible is going on in my life at the moment. In fact, things are much better than they’ve been in a while so I should be calm and relaxed! But of course, as you might know, us overthinkers just like to mull over things until something that wasn’t an issue suddenly becomes one.
    I like your method of combating all this thinking and I find that talking to someone who can give us some tough love is often the kicker we need to get us off our mental ledge. I have a friend who I admire in so many ways but mainly for her ability to just shut out the noise and the useless mulling so now when I catch myself doing it and I KNOW it’s useless, I think of her and what she’d say to me. It might not be helpful for everyone but it’s definitely helped me get my head straight when I don’t have the luxury of talking to her directly.
    Also, sidenote: I read somewhere that usually the reason a song gets stuck in our heads is because we stopped listening to it in the middle or we didn’t finish it completely. To get it out, experts recommended listening to the song again, from start to finish, and it’ll likely be out of your head then. Just thought I’d share. 😉 Have a great weekend!

    Posted by lillianccc | July 24, 2015, 3:08 pm
    • I think you’re right, Lillian, or maybe it’s just a problem many people have and they shrug it off. I wonder if women are more prone than men — ? I think maybe women worry more for whatever reason, so there could be some truth to that possibility. “Chronic mind wanderer” — I can relate and can’t believe someone hasn’t stuck that on a tee-shirt already. Wait a minute…maybe you should. Or we could. What do you think? 😉

      Overthinkers are also over analyzers and I’m very guilty of that as well. Any relaxation techniques, I find, help. I just try until one comes through. Different things work for different occurrences. And yes, it helps to touch base with someone who gets it and/or gets you. I’ve never heard that about a song, but the next time it happens, I’ll most definitely put it to the test.

      Thanks Lillian and have a great weekend.

      Posted by Brigitte | July 24, 2015, 3:38 pm
  4. Freeing my mind is impossible. I just replay everything over and over. Analyzing wayyyyyy to much. It’s a terrible cycle. Nice song choice 🙂
    I bet your friend is mutually greatful for the support and friendship. You’re pretty damn awesome. My good is just an ordinary thang, yo.

    Posted by UpChuckingwords | July 24, 2015, 4:40 pm
  5. that’s a great idea Brigitte! I had a few goods today! ❤
    Diana xo

    Posted by dianasschwenk | July 24, 2015, 9:30 pm
  6. The worst part of the spinning mind interrupting sleep is the tired feeling in the upcoming days. I’ve written many a good post during those spinning hours, but no paper or laptop around. Someone recommended a problem-solving exercise to get you to sleep …. haviing a problem-solver brain … yikes, staying awake conquer the problem!

    I like your bottom line of focusing on the importance of the little things in life.

    Posted by aFrankAngle | July 25, 2015, 11:31 am
    • Frank, thank you!! And yes, I know what you mean. But the older I get the more I understand the importance of seizing the moment and how important those little things are. Putting it down on paper or otherwise is that. Solving the problem.

      Posted by Brigitte | July 25, 2015, 8:47 pm
  7. I’ve had a tremendous amount on my mind in recent months and things do nag at me consciously, Brig, but I’m very lucky that my thoughts shut off when I hit the pillow. I am familiar with the insomnia you’ve been suffering; I have experienced it occasionally and I know it’s a beast. Could it be a consequence of menopause? I think we’re the same age, as Mark over at Exile on Pain Street calls it, [redacted]. My most annoying symptom is hot flashes. I can drip sweat in an instant (or, a flash) at Olympic gold levels these days. One thing I have been suffering since early youth is having a song stuck in my head. The first time that it happened to my niece it was this John Mayer song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQtGqmi2O2U Whenever that song would play on the radio Sweet Pea would detonate and shout, “Just say it!”

    Posted by lameadventures | July 25, 2015, 9:23 pm
    • That’s good, V and I hope everything is okay with you! I hear it from many women and yes, I do think hormones and hormonal fluctuations have much to do with it. And I do know the sweat thing as well. Not fun. I made the mistake of clicking on that John Mayer link you included. Uh-oh. Wasn’t that on some Hallmark card commercial too? How many times can he say, “Say what you need to say.” I agree with Sweet Pea. Thanks for stopping in, V., always a pleasure.

      Posted by Brigitte | July 26, 2015, 2:27 pm
  8. My mind likes to go a wandering a lot, and sometimes I’m not sure where it’s been. Luckily, it doesn’t happen too often at night. But when it does, I’m inclined to just let it go rather than get up and do something like read. While I’m usually tired the next day as a result, I do get to sleep more easily that next night.

    I love the idea of “my good.” We don’t need to mean it in a boasting way. But sometimes, it helps to remember that we can make a positive difference.

    Posted by jmmcdowell | July 28, 2015, 4:42 pm
    • Hi JM, i know exactly what you mean! How I get from one subject to something completely different. Odd. But maybe it’s a good thing, creatively. That’s what I’m going to tell myself anyway. ha! That is one good thing about a sleepless night — usually the next day/night you’re so exhausted sleep comes much easier.

      Good doesn’t have to be grandiose, just sharing with someone “your good,” well, feels good and reminds one how fortunate we are and how the small stuff should not be sweated. 😉 Thanks, as always for your insight, and for stopping in!

      Posted by Brigitte | July 28, 2015, 5:10 pm
  9. Am I a mind wanderer? Oh HECK yes! Regular exercise and a consistent sleep routine usually enable me to fall asleep relatively quickly, but I know that if I get on a mental roller coaster, I’ll be awake for hours without an end in sight. When that happens, I try to make a mental (or written, if my mind is too bouncy) list of all the things for which I’m grateful. And if that doesn’t work, well, there’s always PBS late night cooking shows and an early bedtime the next night!

    Posted by Erin E. | August 1, 2015, 4:58 pm
    • Hi Erin — great to see you! I do the same. If I don’t (exercise) then I’m way out of whack. And yes, mindless TV works best for me if I can’t sleep and I choose that route. Something low-key, not over-stimulating, and passive. And there’s plenty of that on cable. ha! Thanks for dropping by — always great to hear from you. 🙂

      Posted by Brigitte | August 3, 2015, 8:15 am
  10. test, yo.

    Posted by Brigitte | October 9, 2015, 2:35 pm
  11. miss you–must catch up–sorry–it is my fault……..

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | December 8, 2015, 9:12 am
  12. Thanks Carrie!

    Posted by Brigitte | December 7, 2015, 1:34 pm

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noun har·mo·ny \ˈhär-mə-nē\

the combination of simultaneous musical notes in a chord

the structure of music with respect to the composition and progression of chords

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