I’ve been having trouble lately quieting my mind: it’s on replay these days with to-do lists and various other things. It’s been really difficult to find a quiet mental place where I can truly relax and be in the moment. I’ve tried breathing deeply and also repeating a mantra, things that have worked in the past, but no dice.
So, this morning, walking to my office, I tried a new tactic. I tried singing a song in my head. I didn’t invent this, I’m sorry to say. It’s a technique that marathon runners, among others, use to stay in the moment. They memorize playlists and then “play” them in their minds during races. It helps block out the incessant whirring of their brains. (And can you imagine how much whirring could happen during a 25-mile run? Seriously. Anyone would need a strategy.)
It turns out, it is really hard to think about anything else when you are singing the words to a song. (Which is not true when you’re actually listening to music, right? Raise your hand if you have completely missed entire songs in a playlist because you are so distracted by your thoughts. My hand is up.)
Anyway, I sang three songs by the time I got to work and it worked! I didn’t have any random thoughts wander in and pull me away from my being in the moment. Furthermore, I felt mentally refreshed by the time I arrived at my office. It was refreshing to get off the hamster wheel of my noisy brain.
So, the next time your brain is being annoyingly overactive, pick a song you know the words to and start singing in your head. (This is a great time sing music that other people don’t appreciate: no one will hear it but you!) Make a mental note of how you feel afterwards. If it’s helpful, maybe cue up a little playlist for yourself so you have it at the ready.