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arrrgggghhh! my brain won't shut down


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I realize this might fit under OCD, but was just wondering:

Has anybody else had problems with 'shutting down' their brain and how have you dealt with it? (other than drinking or drugs)

To clarify my question here's a scenario:

You spend the day at work or school or whatever.

You go home, try to relax, and get tired.

You go to bed, attempt to go to sleep, and the next thing you know you're reviewing things that happened that day at work/school/whatever. And he last thing you really want to do is think about work/school/whatever it was you were doing for the day. :confused:

As it turns out, you figure out that something you did wasn't quite how it should have been handled.:eek:

The next thing you know you've gone from almost asleep to wide awake from thinking about what happened and how it could have/should have been handled differently.:(

Any suggestions as to how to handle these thought processes and control them?

Thanks in advance-


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Try either writing stuff you are thinking about down or countering those thoughts in a TEA form. Works for me. Also you could put a rubber band around your wrist and snap yourself with it when ever thoughts you don't want come. This sounds silly but works for lots of people.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Confuzzed,

My guess is that everyone, including me, has experience with that.:)

I really mean that. Of course, once you start obsessing, its impossible to sleep.

One thing I've done, is to get up and read a book or do something else. None of us like tossing and turning.

Another strategy is to start picturing something that is totally pleasant for you. A place you travelled to or a paradise you wish you could go to or any number of other things. We can't stop ourselves from obsessing about something because it won't work but we can think of something else.

Other ideas?


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Hi confuzzled,

I too have this problem....a lot in recent months actually!

For me I find putting on some nice relaxing music a great help. Nothing too hip-hop or a 'get up and dance' type of music...but something calm and relaxing and having it turned down as low as possible but enough to hear it..this way when you do fall asleep the music won't wake you again. Usually the first 5 or 6 songs on a CD is all it takes...try not to put the CD on repeat either, it can be a bit alarming if you wake during the night!

I also find music a great comfort during the day too when I can't switch my brain off....If my brain is firing thoughts at me in all directions I put on some loud upbeat music and try to shake it out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, I guess its a trial and error issue! Art is also great, as is writing poetry or journalling! Also the good old cliche but it works - some light exercise, perhaps a brisk walk, or swimming!

Hope that helps some and that you manage to get some sleep soon!

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I have a similar problem with a bunch of random thoughts when I try to sleep, but I ruminate over things that I should have handled differently during the day. I think that is a cognitive distortion that is characteristic of anxiety where people dismiss most of what they do well and focus almost entirely on missteps.

One thing that sometimes helps me get to sleep is, ironically, trying to keep my eyes open. I stare at the ceiling like its a staring contest and see how long I can go. Sometimes it takes a really long time but eventually I fall asleep doing that. I came up with this from noticing that I fell asleep in class really easily, and during that time I was fighting to stay awake. The point is that you might have some occasions where you feel sleepy even when you don't want to. Looking at what is going on during those times might be a key to what helps get to sleep.

These are just my observations; I am by no means an expert here. Good luck on whatever methods you may choose.

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Hi there,

I use to do that when I workied full time. Perhaps you could practice relaxation , like listening to soft, mellow music, light a candle, take a hot bubble bath. turn off the phone if you need quiet time to yourself. If you like to exercise I know that always works. If you like hot tea, their are some teas made just to promote relaxtion. if not tea, then hot chocolate works too.

Anther one is to use warm blankets , snuggle in , and then let your mind drift to calm , peaceful places. The beach , or something that helps you calm down and not think about your day. That day is over, and a new day begans, it is a fresh start . I know their are CD's made for calmness out there . You can buy one and see if that helps you.

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  • 1 month later...
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!


YW! I hope you found something that is helping you:)


When you ruminate you really need to interupt the cycle by countering the offending thoughts in a TEA form. It helps a lot and works pretty fast:)

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