How to hush the noise in your brain

My brain is normally full of all kind of things; rubbish, inane knowledge and critical information; happiness, sadness, hope and despair. Constant ups and downs. But very, very full. This past week without reading or social media or television, has been the same; my brain has remained full.

But I have also had moments of clarity; ideas, decisions, desires, focus. The fullness has been less noisy. If that makes any sense at all. Before it would have been that there were things clamouring for attention in my brain, but instead it is as if a more orderly queue has been formed.

That is just a summary though, it doesn’t give you a clear picture of what it was really like. The positives and the negatives that I found might explain why it felt like that.

The positives

Time. Time to do things that I would have wasted before reading articles or getting lost in the tangle of the web. I suspect the ban on social media has been the biggest force in this coming about. I haven’t found it to be nearly as hard as I feared I might. Although not so much time as to feel on top of everything.

Productivity. I have managed to use the time with a degree of productivity. Planning for my novel means that it is much closer to actually being written; it has more sense and substance. I have even set an achievable goal to get a first draft written by the end of November. And I’ve moved on quite well with other family projects too.

Mindful moments. I have enjoyed the moments more; cooking, spending time with the children, chatting with my husband (thankfully he hasn’t been annoyed by this and we have actually agreed that we have both felt life is much better for not watching mindless television). I have been able to stop and smell the roses as it were.

Ideas. They are buzzing round my head and I am keen to get started again and refocus on my objectives after this little hiatus. When I look at the amazing difference in my life from one year ago when I started considering to write a blog to where I am now, I am incredulous that such a change has come about. I am excited to find out what happens in the next year.

Dreams. My nights have been more dream filled than ever; at the moment they are still fleeting but this is a big change. Since I was a teenager, I had hardly ever woken up with the sensation of having been dreaming. I feel that it is a sign that the creativity that I crave is hovering nearby.

The negatives

Cheating. I have found it near on impossible to prevent myself from reading at all. I do it without even thinking, I start to read snippets of newspapers, or magazines. I managed to place myself in a position of torture by going to the library with my little one! I wonder if the reading I have done has resulted in less impact of deprivation this week.

Emotional response. I was expecting this week to be emotional, and I have been rather disappointed to not have a huge turmoil. Maybe this is because of the amount of thinking I do anyway, or the extensive counselling process that I have gone through. I start to wonder if there was any purpose and then I need to point myself towards the positives described above!

Fear. However, in spite of feeling a lack of emotional upheaval, I have recognised that so much of what holds me back is fear; fear of the unknown, fear of exposing myself to ridicule, fear of being crazy. To make progress I need to drop that fear. I have been afraid for far too long. I want to get on with my life in eager anticipation of an adventure ahead.

So what is going to change in my life?

No more social media on my phone. At all (well except Instagram which is really only a phone app). No more ‘filler’ television when I feel too tired in the evening (although quality drama, documentaries etc. of course are allowed). And a regular break from the blog and social media world, every three months or so, to freshen me up again.

A clearer and better to do list with ideas broken down into manageable chunks for doing in the small bitesize pieces of time that I have as a busy mum, blogger and writer. A regular posting and engagement plan that allows me to hopefully achieve the theoretical balance. Putting into place some of the ideas that have arisen this week.

Biting the bullet, doing things that scare me but which can help me move forwards in my life. Continuation of the morning pages, and a dream diary by my bed to try to capture some of the insights that may be floating in my subconscious. Finally a bit more mediation and mindfulness practice.

Back to the ‘orderly queue’ in my brain. Even now, when I haven’t fully immersed myself back in the social media world, I can feel that orderliness becoming less so. I hope that the differences that I am going to try to implement in my life will prevent the ‘noise levels’ rising again. But if not I have, albeit extreme, a weapon against it in my armoury.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. maddy@writingbubble says:

    Good to have you back and I’m glad it went well! The ‘orderly queue’ thing make sense. I crave a little less noise and these past weeks have been really intense. Am going to take a week off blogging and social media soon. Not off books though – I want more time to read! Thanks for sharing. Xx


    1. Maddy I really recommend the break from social media, I never really felt that I was missing out, although I’m now scrambling to catch up with a lot of things. The noise level going down really helped me with clarity and concentration on tasks. But the books were so hard, well virtually impossible, I was constantly itching to read! xx


  2. Joyce Humphries says:

    Alice, i love this post. It reminds me of a S. W. O. T analysis one would do in (for example) a management project. Only, this is within your own psyche. Good luck with the novel. I eagerly await a read.


    1. Thank you Joyce. I can’t say I was being as methodical as a SWOT analysis when I was doing it but I do try to consider from different angles. I’ll be sure to let you know the progress with my book.


  3. Our experiences were very similar and I concur about doing it again. I really felt that my creative/mental batteries were recharged and I discovered a love for writing a journal! I have fallen off the daytime TV wagon though and need to give myself a good talking to about filling my day with rubbish and noise!


    1. Ah yes I felt much recharged too, although the effect has rather worn off now! I’m not a daytime TV person, mostly because I still have a little one not yet at school, but I know how to waste snippets of time other ways. I think I will keep doing a journal too, not sure exactly how it helps but it does, doesn’t it?! Thanks for stopping by. X

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  4. It sounds like even if you didn’t have a momentous emotional response to ‘switching off’ there were still some significant and lasting benefits. I really like your plan going forward – I’ve sid this before, but I need to address my social media addiction! Too often I think I’m just too tired to make the right decisions… But it’s time I started getting earlier nights and being kinder to myself so that my head is a less cloudy place to be. Good luck with moving forward with the novel! Exciting times 🙂 xx


    1. I can really empathise with being too tired to make good decisions; that is me everyday past 7pm! About anything. Being kinder to yourself sound like a good plan though, we can’t be perfect, it’s an unrealistic expectation. I’ve not ever described my head as cloudy, but it fits, I can’t ever imagine that disappearing, whatever I do! Xx


  5. Your post really resonated with me because I’ve been asking myself (as a new blogger) how I can find balanced approach to social media. I have decided to try and keep off Social Media at the weekends (as I’ve mentioned on Johanes blog too) because I need space to regroup and have uninterrupted time with my family. I really liked the way you wrote and set out the process for you in this post, and it’s clearly helped you work out a balanced approached going forward, defo food for thought! x


    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! FYI, the balanced approach hasn’t always gone to plan this week, but definitely better than it was before this little exercise! I still consider myself to be a new blogger (probably always will!) and I think it takes a while to work the whole social media thing out, including when and where to use it, I’ll get there eventually! Xx


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