You know that deep ache in the bones of your face when you're exhausted, but still awake and pushing through, still working, and still running around? You know that feeling of being harried and frayed at the edges but you're not quite sure why? You know how you reach for your phone without even thinking when you feel drained?
Pushing through the exhaustion and nebulous anxiety is doing your brain zero favors. Remember that it's constantly learning and making connections. If you tell it that this is what life is, it'll keep repeating this way of being for you. Pushing through feeling frayed will leave you less creative, less able to think critically, and lower your cognitive functioning overall.
Here are two things you can do to let your brain rest and lower your anxiety.
1) NON-SLEEP DEEP REST (NSDR)
Even a few minutes of this in the afternoon when you feel that dip in energy and increase in anxiety can transform how you feel. NSDR only requires you to recline (comfy chair, couch, floor, bed), close your eyes, and rest. You CAN'T have the TV on, a podcast on, or music. You CAN have your headphones on to listen to a sound bath or nature sounds. Sink into the sounds and the couch for 3-20 minutes. You also don't have to wait until you are fried. Plan this into your every day routine. It's not indulgent or lazy. You are protecting your brain health, mindset, and over all health.
2) CURATE YOUR SOUNDSCAPE
Unfortunately, we all have to work hard to block out noise in this modern life. Traffic, lawnmowers, planes, trains, refrigerator hum, TVs, background music. Noise is unwanted sound. Even if the decibel level isn't high enough to damage your ears, this constant background noise is harmful. The word "noise" comes from the old French word for quarrel or dispute. It also shares a root with the Latin, “nausea”. Northwestern's Dr. Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist who focuses her research on sound says this about noise:
"Although it won’t damage your hearing instruments, it can damage your neurological processing. It can create static, or internal noise in your brain that makes it difficult to process information, pick out important words and meaning, increase anxiety, increase cortisol, problems with learning and memory, difficulty performing challenging tasks, hypertension, and even stiffening of blood vessels and other cardiovascular diseases. The World Health Organization attributes many years of life lost due to noise exposure." In her book, Of Sound Mind, she says that the right kind of sound can be an antidote to damaging noise. Our sound baths are an example of the right kind of sound. So, take a moment, close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? What can you turn off? When you get in the car, do you have to reflexively turn the radio on? No. CONCLUSION Just by avoiding unnecessary noise (you may need to wear earplugs sometimes!) and taking a few minutes a day for NSDR, you can significantly improve your energy, patience, creativity, and reduce anxiety, feeling less overwhelmed. These are easy to do and don't require taking much time out of you day. Give it a try and let us know what changes you feel.