Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coping Skills 101

So there's those times, we all have them, when we can't stop thinking about something. Maybe it's something horrifying you want to forget, maybe it's something you wish you could remember, that seems vital to remember, that stays just beyond your reach ...

A person can go crazy, trying to stop thinking. I'm learning some tools, so I thought I'd pass them on.  They're not earthshattering, and really, there aren't that many of them.

1. Music. Listen to the words.  Lose yourself in someone else's creativity. (this is what I consider a low-level distracting tool.  I can think about two things at once)

2.  Play a different tape.  If your brain is squirrel-braining a memory or an interaction that you badly want to be different - let it go.  Deliberately choose to think about something else.  I make lists.  "Three positive memories from junior high."  "Three countries you'd love to visit."  "Best holiday ever."
Or I imagine myself telling someone how I met my husband, what our first date was like, how it felt the first time he held my hand.  (We both stopped talking.  For at least half an hour.  Just kept on walking, holding hands, nobody saying anything, as the world shifted on its axis.) (this is medium level distraction for me.  I have to work hard at staying with the new tape.)

3. Memorize stuff. (This is the hard-core distraction. Even my busy busy brain can't think about much else while I'm trying to remember something I've memorized. I've got this poem down, (which, by the way, was written for ME, which is lovely of John Piper, because we've never met), and then the words "Psalm 96" showed up in my head one day, so I'm memorizing that too.

And I'm going to start carrying Where the Sidewalk Ends with me, so I can memorize "Lester was given a magic wish/by the goblin who lived in the banyan tree" ...there's about 80 billion more lines, and then it ends with "In a world of apples and kisses and shoes/he wasted his wishes on wishing." I can reel off a lot of the short poems in that book, but it's time to assimilate the longer ones.

And that's the end of today's lesson.  As you were. 

ps all of these things work better for me if I'm walking at the same time.

1 comment:

fudge4ever said...

Hi Susan,
It looks like we have some similar distractions - music and Shel Silverstein. Does coffee, chocolate, or Home and Garden Channel make it on your list?
Pam M.