Author Topic: Struggling to turn the brain off  (Read 21966 times)

infromsea

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #50 on: July 26, 2017, 07:18:30 AM »
Have you tried podcasts?   I find them to be a really good way to stay mentally stimulated while being less isolating than reading.   

Tim Ferris is a big fan of the stoics, and interviews interesting "world class performers" in a variety of fields.  He was a bit too dude bro-ish when he first started, but has matured a lot in the last couple of years.

If you don't find his constant interruptions and self promotion annoying, James Altucher also interviews interesting people.

Malcolm Gladwell's newish podcast Revisionist History is also very though provoking.

Others I really enjoy:

Hidden Brain
Freakonomics
Planet Money
Happier

+1 for podcasts. I find my most enjoyable day to be one where I plug in my single earbud headphones, put on some ear muffs over to block noise and then spend a day doing manual labor like mowing/cleaning the yard or building a deck.

I use a cheap cell phone with a paid for APP (so much better than the free apps with adds!) and I que up several days worth of shows from various names like those above and I get to work.

I'd also recommend hard core history by Dan Carlin and This American Life (some deep stories on there).

Also, my local library lends audiobooks online, you don't have to go into the library, as long as you have an account you can download them from their electronic library website. The beauty of it is (and I'm not advocating piracy here) is that you can delete the auto generated playlist and the item won't expire (providing they are using the overdrive software, I usually just copy the folder to another partition, then delete the overdrive playlist and add it to my "to listen to" folder) that way you can "store up" a few for those long hikes, days in the yard, or long drives.

Kl285528

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #51 on: July 26, 2017, 07:48:13 AM »
Don't dismiss self-help books too quickly. I have found enormous value in "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie. Read and think through the basic ideas without getting hung up on it being dated in parts. The basic concepts are solid. As well as The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz. Finally, Tim Ferriss is into stoicism, and his podcast is great, besides the over bro-ish nature of it at times! Good luck with this, I'm going through a little of this too right now.

zoltani

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #52 on: July 26, 2017, 11:10:35 AM »
Don't dismiss self-help books too quickly. I have found enormous value in "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie. Read and think through the basic ideas without getting hung up on it being dated in parts. The basic concepts are solid. As well as The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz. Finally, Tim Ferriss is into stoicism, and his podcast is great, besides the over bro-ish nature of it at times! Good luck with this, I'm going through a little of this too right now.

Self-help, interesting concept. You are reading these self help books, but it's not self help, it is someone else's idea of what would be better for you. You are relying on the idea that they know what is better for you. How could I judge that when I don't even know what is better for myself?

meadow lark

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #53 on: July 26, 2017, 06:56:52 PM »
Re meditation - https://www.dhamma.org .  I did a 10 day silent meditation retreat (it's for beginners) and it was really good for me.  It is by donation only, with no suggested price.  That said, I really need to meditate more.

I FIRED 7 weeks ago and it's a little rough.  My anxiety has definitely gone up.  A lot.  Right now trying to work through it.  It's frustrating - I want to be having the time of my life, but I am not.  I am holding onto the idea that I will feel different in 6 months and a year. 

Tyson

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #54 on: July 26, 2017, 07:02:24 PM »

I have not read anything even approaching philosophy since college. I suppose I'm not really all that certain of what I believe with respect to the ultimate end game. I guess my thoughts about needing to do something meaningful with my life imply that I don't believe it will simply continue in some fashion that retains my identity and cognitive function after I die. I will try to look into stoicism. Picking up a lot of reading material lately!


Could it be that all this free time has allowed you to consider this aspect of life? The whole "what's it all about anyway" side of it? We spend so much time and energy and mental cycles on/at work, maybe now that those cycles have been freed up, we have to really think about things that we get the "luxury" of ignoring when busy with work/life/raising kids etc.

As for stoic writings, the letters of Seneca and discourse of Epictetus are great places to start.

I found that Thoreau, followed by Whitman, followed by the Bhagavad Gita had a profound impact on my philosophical outlook.  Prior to these 3 I'd say my outlook was profoundly self centered and selfish.  Now it's expanded to be much more benevolent and greater generosity of spirit.  Whitman, in particular, was influential here.

Mr. Green

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #55 on: July 26, 2017, 08:29:38 PM »
The book on fear that I picked up really speaks to me. It was written by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen master and Buddhist monk. Naturally, it's concepts pull heavily from Buddhism but the words really hit home with regard to my specific experience of a form of the fear of dying as I go to sleep at night. A passage that hit me particularly hard was "The present is free from fear," which is true. Fear is always about something that has yet to happen. And since we really can't live anywhere but in the present, we can really live without fear. I don't know anything about Buddhism but I would assume based on what I've read so far that it is very big on meditation and mindfulness. I may have to read a little more about Buddhism.

koshtra

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #56 on: July 26, 2017, 11:16:05 PM »
Thich Nhat Hanh is wonderful. The best summary of classical Buddhism I know is "What the Buddha Taught," by Walpola Rahula.

I think actually you've got at least three things going on: simple boredom (you don't really have quite enough to do) -- and a psychological predisposition to anxiety (guessing from your history) -- and really running up against "what am I living for in the first place?" -- which is really the same question as "what will my death mean?" They all kind of converge on you when the lights go out.

A good meditation teacher and a group to sit with can be really valuable. There's a lot of ways to get muddled up about meditation, and a good teacher can save you a lot of time and distress. I tend to look to the old established traditions -- Japanese Zen or Tibetan -- they're simultaneously a lot more relaxed and a lot more rigorous. One of the things that will surprise you, if you're used to Western religions, is that nobody will give a damn whether you believe anything or not: no one's going to ask you to swear to anything or promise allegiance to anything.

I don't know if I'm a Buddhist any more -- I would have called myself one ten years ago. Maybe I am. But anyway, I know that learning to meditate was the biggest favor I ever did myself. It had a huge impact on my life, and totally for the good.

Kl285528

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #57 on: July 27, 2017, 07:06:22 AM »
Don't dismiss self-help books too quickly. I have found enormous value in "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie. Read and think through the basic ideas without getting hung up on it being dated in parts. The basic concepts are solid. As well as The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz. Finally, Tim Ferriss is into stoicism, and his podcast is great, besides the over bro-ish nature of it at times! Good luck with this, I'm going through a little of this too right now.

Self-help, interesting concept. You are reading these self help books, but it's not self help, it is someone else's idea of what would be better for you. You are relying on the idea that they know what is better for you. How could I judge that when I don't even know what is better for myself?
Perhaps think of these books as helpers for you to live a better, happier life. Keep an open mind about these. MMM had this to say about one of them http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/28/weekend-edition-the-magic-of-thinking-big/

FIREby35

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #58 on: July 27, 2017, 07:11:06 AM »
If you like the Bhuddism stuff, I suggest you read The Dhammapadda : http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/scrndhamma.pdf

The Dhammapadda is a collection of proverbs that you can meditate on for a looooong time. I think I've been going back to it for nearly a decade! Let me tell you this, what I understood the first time I read it was exactly what I needed. What I understood when I read it last week, it was exactly what I needed. Somehow these quotes speak to a beginner and a more advanced meditator all at the same time. It's kind of incredible, actually.

Just a thing, I'm Catholic but the Bhuddism stuff spoke to me in a way all the Catholic stuff did not. Maybe it had to do with all the cultural baggage attached to being Catholic. Anyway, I say that because getting caught in "which religion" is a side trap that is best ignored. Take the wisdom where you can get it!

Another thing to check out, although it might be a little advanced is Ram Dass. Here is a lecture that I bet speaks to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orb8cGSqS-A


Mr. Green

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #59 on: July 27, 2017, 10:11:22 AM »
If you like the Bhuddism stuff, I suggest you read The Dhammapadda : http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/scrndhamma.pdf

The Dhammapadda is a collection of proverbs that you can meditate on for a looooong time. I think I've been going back to it for nearly a decade! Let me tell you this, what I understood the first time I read it was exactly what I needed. What I understood when I read it last week, it was exactly what I needed. Somehow these quotes speak to a beginner and a more advanced meditator all at the same time. It's kind of incredible, actually.

Just a thing, I'm Catholic but the Bhuddism stuff spoke to me in a way all the Catholic stuff did not. Maybe it had to do with all the cultural baggage attached to being Catholic. Anyway, I say that because getting caught in "which religion" is a side trap that is best ignored. Take the wisdom where you can get it!

Another thing to check out, although it might be a little advanced is Ram Dass. Here is a lecture that I bet speaks to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orb8cGSqS-A
I was also surprised at how strongly the words spoke to me, which I've never really felt with Christian texts (raised Christian). It felt like faith by logic, as opposed to Christian texts which to me feel more like faith by faith. As an analytical person explanations that are more based on logic strike more of a chord with me. I will definitely take the wisdom where I can get it, and if a spiritual journey occurs some time later that's okay too.

infromsea

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #60 on: July 28, 2017, 08:09:42 AM »
I came across this today:

“There is a myth, sometimes widespread, that a person need only do inner work…that a man is entirely responsible for his own problems; and that to cure himself, he need only change himself…The fact is, a person is so formed by his surroundings, that his state of harmony depends entirely on his harmony with his surroundings.”

-- Christopher Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building

I have found truth in this, getting out of the house and interacting with others at least once a week keeps me in a much more positive mental place.

zoltani

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #61 on: July 28, 2017, 10:26:43 AM »
Don't dismiss self-help books too quickly. I have found enormous value in "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie. Read and think through the basic ideas without getting hung up on it being dated in parts. The basic concepts are solid. As well as The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz. Finally, Tim Ferriss is into stoicism, and his podcast is great, besides the over bro-ish nature of it at times! Good luck with this, I'm going through a little of this too right now.

Self-help, interesting concept. You are reading these self help books, but it's not self help, it is someone else's idea of what would be better for you. You are relying on the idea that they know what is better for you. How could I judge that when I don't even know what is better for myself?
Perhaps think of these books as helpers for you to live a better, happier life. Keep an open mind about these. MMM had this to say about one of them http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/28/weekend-edition-the-magic-of-thinking-big/

I am familiar with the book and of MMM's recommendation of it. As soon as you have the idea that you want to better yourself you're simply falling into another game, as you are telling yourself that there is something to be better about, but you are the one judging that. If you knew what is better then you would be it already. If there is something wrong with you that needs bettering you are the one doing the bettering, do you see the game? It's still you, the ego. When you want to better yourself and choose some teacher, guru, MMM, book, or whatever you are still the one judging that that person knows what is better, it is a kind of trap. The reason why you want to be better is the reason why you aren't.

There is the old story of Buddha telling people that the reason for suffering is that they desire. So the people did everything the could to rid themselves of desire, but no matter what they did they couldn't. So they went back to Buddha and said they did everything they could to get rid of desire but they can't. And the Buddha said, oh but now you are desiring not to desire.

You can't get rid of desire because as soon as you try you are desiring to not desire. Just like as soon as you try to better yourself you can't because you are the one doing the bettering.


infromsea

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #62 on: July 30, 2017, 05:13:56 AM »


You can't get rid of desire because as soon as you try you are desiring to not desire. Just like as soon as you try to better yourself you can't because you are the one doing the bettering.

I find meditation very helpful with this quandary.

When I first started, it was tough to quiet the mind. The more you try not to think, the more random and "out of left field" ideas pop into the stream of consciousness. I used the calm app to "learn" how to meditate and I follow it's method, to simply recognize that I'm thinking and to say to to myself "thinking" and shut it down and "push" the thought out of my mind without judging or "keeping score" or otherwise beating myself up.

I think the same can be done with desires. As someone who has tried to reduce desires for material possessions and earning more money just to have big numbers on a website (online bank account, we don't even strive for big numbers on a piece of paper anymore ((bank statement)) now it's just a game to see who can put up the largest numbers on a screenshot, just like most viggie games) I still find myself appreciating finer homes and a nicely maintained classic car etc. I don't beat myself up for appreciating those things, sometimes even desiring them, I just recognize/acknowledge the desire/thought and push it along and move on with my life. I think that process can be used for many situations.

MenopauseMustache

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #63 on: July 30, 2017, 06:20:27 AM »
I hope your nights are getting calmer, Mr. Green. Mine is not a logical engineer brain, but a creative one and I see your thoughts and anxiety about 'death' as being not about the end of life, but the end of a career. Death in dreams is usually about change. I think you are struggling with a transition, that's all. Anxiety sucks, I get it too, and always at night, but this tumultuous time is also an immeasurably positive one. Yes, the 'engineer who works 80 hours a week and builds things and earns a salary' part of you has died a natural death. You didn't kill him. He can be resurrected at any time. But there's another Mr. Green emerging. I think you're in a bit of a gestation and possibly painful birthing period as you start to shape this new life. I don't want to give advice, all I can suggest is you stop overthinking it. Relax, accept that some nights you'll have anxiety and for some reason it's part of the process. You will come through to something new and it will be amazing. Have faith in yourself.

o2bfree

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #64 on: July 31, 2017, 10:08:03 AM »
Regarding problem solving, the ultimate goal of meditation is to solve the source of all of humanity’s problems, our most intractable problem: the problem of life and death. Humanity is stuck on solving so many other problems related to comfort, convenience, and knowledge, but if you think about it, even the greatest comfort or convenience is based on conditions that are bound to change, and the most esoteric knowledge or cool, advanced technology is just a minuscule bit of the infinite picture. And it seems that no matter how much comfort, convenience, knowledge, or technology we have, there’s still a sense of anxiety because the basic problem of life and death remains.

A good meditation teacher and a group to sit with can be really valuable. There's a lot of ways to get muddled up about meditation, and a good teacher can save you a lot of time and distress. I tend to look to the old established traditions -- Japanese Zen or Tibetan -- they're simultaneously a lot more relaxed and a lot more rigorous. One of the things that will surprise you, if you're used to Western religions, is that nobody will give a damn whether you believe anything or not: no one's going to ask you to swear to anything or promise allegiance to anything.

+1

Most people get bored with meditation because they don't sit long enough, intently enough, or with an effective enough technique to get a taste of what it’s ultimately about. It’s more than just learning to relax to feel better, though that’s certainly a benefit. But wait…there’s more! and doing enough meditation to begin to see that can be difficult and quite uncomfortable, mentally and physically. Working with a teacher and sitting for extended periods of time with a group may be necessary to advance in meditation, as the formal setting keeps you on your cushion far longer that you’d stay on it at home. At home it’s just too easy to stop when you feel bored, sleepy, or your legs start hurting!
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 10:35:11 AM by o2bfree »

AnnS

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #65 on: August 02, 2017, 04:03:20 AM »
I think humans have to work because meaning comes from service to others and from creativity. The beauty of FI is the freedom to do exactly the work you want to do in a way that suits you according to your skills, inclinations and temperament. A wonderful, wonderful gift. Take it and use it or face the void!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2017, 06:06:48 AM by AnnS »

o2bfree

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #66 on: August 02, 2017, 10:14:26 AM »
I think humans have to work because meaning comes for service to others and creativity. The beauty of FI is the freedom to do exactly the work you want to do in a way that suits you according to your skills, inclinations and temperament. A wonderful, wonderful gift. Take it and use it or face the void!

This seems true in many respects; however, as a counterpoint, note that people who work to serve others can also struggle with depression and other mental ailments. Mother Theresa, for example:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/augustweb-only/135-43.0.html


Ten years after her death, a new book of Mother Teresa's personal letters illustrates a profound and private spiritual struggle— much of it unknown to the world that would come to embrace her as a living saint.

Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, to be released Sept. 4, is a collection of Teresa's personal letters to her spiritual advisers. For the most part, they are letters she never intended to become public and, in fact, had asked to be destroyed.

In one letter from 1962, Teresa even mused about how her sense of spiritual desolation might impact the bid—now under way at the Vatican—to make her a saint.

"If I ever become a Saint—I will surely be one of 'darkness,'" she wrote. "I will continually be absent from Heaven—to (light) the light of those in darkness on earth."

The book will likely challenge the characterization many people had of Teresa as a simple, pious woman, said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest who wrote the best-selling My Life With the Saints.

"I think that this is a real treasure for not only believers, but even doubters and skeptics," Martin said. "I think it also makes her much more accessible to the everyday believer. It shows that even the saints struggle in their spiritual lives and that they don't have it easier than we do. They sometimes have it harder than we do."


Creative people have problems, too:

http://unisoultheory.com/index.php/2016/07/29/depression-anxiety-creativity/

We are all familiar with the stereotype of the moody teenage artist. She wears all black, feels tremendous amounts of angst, and, while very bright, struggles to find joy in a world full of tragedies. While many creative people find this stereotype to be offensive, there is growing scientific evidence that it may, in fact, have some merit. Modern research suggests that highly creative minds are at an increased risk for depression due to their insightful and highly empathetic worldview.

Nancy Andreasen, author of The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius, believes that creative minds are less likely to easily adapt when confronted with new situations. This is because they are more skeptical of the information given to them by authority figures. They would rather make up their own minds. This is not only much more difficult to do, but much more time-intensive when trying to adjust to a new environment. They are creating their own ideas rather than blindly adopting the ones put forth by society.


AnnS

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #67 on: August 03, 2017, 08:13:30 AM »
Well, let's steer away from extreme service a la Mother Teresa, and extreme creativity too!

Mr. Green

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #68 on: August 03, 2017, 03:05:18 PM »
I haven't had any problems for the last week. We've been in North Carolina staying with friends. Even though I'm home all day while my wife is working, the daily socialization with other adults and children helps. While we're here the days feel more structured because we help make dinner and other things that just help pass the time better since I'm unable to make any long term commitments for now. Back in Maryland it's just me and me wife and we don't really cool like our friends do so the days just feel emptier while my wife works. I think this problem will be self-correcting as we expect to move permanently in a couple weeks but I will continue to focus on meditation and other activities that improve my overall health.

ponyboy

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #69 on: August 04, 2017, 09:31:25 AM »
Ponyboy doesnt have any issues turning his brain off after work.  He doesnt do much at work to begin with.  Makes the day much more enjoyable not having many responsibilities. 

Holyoak

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #70 on: August 04, 2017, 03:27:41 PM »
Any chance you have considered dropping the Rx meds, and trying CBD therapy or even MJ to see the results?

Tyson

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #71 on: August 04, 2017, 03:29:50 PM »
Getting off caffeine was enormously helpful for me and my 'falling asleep' problems.

Mr. Green

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #72 on: August 04, 2017, 06:25:50 PM »
Any chance you have considered dropping the Rx meds, and trying CBD therapy or even MJ to see the results?
I dropped the Lunesta and am completely off sleeping pills now because I thought it might be causing my back problems. I'm hesitant to go off the Wellbutrin because the last time I tapered off an SSRI I had a return of anxiety symptoms.

Holyoak

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #73 on: August 04, 2017, 07:56:27 PM »
Any chance you have considered dropping the Rx meds, and trying CBD therapy or even MJ to see the results?
I dropped the Lunesta and am completely off sleeping pills now because I thought it might be causing my back problems. I'm hesitant to go off the Wellbutrin because the last time I tapered off an SSRI I had a return of anxiety symptoms.

I understand your concern/s about weaning off of the SSRI's, and you have my best wishes toward you finding relief from your anxiety.  If by chance someday you are not taking any SSRI's, sleep medications, etc, perhaps giving the CBD's a try may be very helpful.  St John's Wort may also prove beneficial for you for anxiety and sleep issues, and perhaps Valerian root used for better sleep.   I'll second the recommend to reduce or eliminate caffeine if you can, if you partake.

Lastly, Cannabis.  When used properly, it can have a very profound, positive effect for sleeplessness and helping to quell anxiety.  I know this may seem counter-productive, and I'm sure I'm not explaining anything you don't already know, just the same it can be very effective.

Anxiety is so insidious, and perhaps some of your back pain is directly related to this anxiety?  I wish you sincere best of luck, in overcoming your challenging situation. 

respond2u

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #74 on: August 04, 2017, 10:55:50 PM »
...We're back and forth between two states, which has prohibited any attempts at an activity that is longer than two weeks. ...

Any chance you can change this?

That much travel can be really stressful. It can be hard to "have a life" when you're moving back and forth--even if it's to the same places.

BFGirl

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #75 on: October 11, 2019, 01:14:15 PM »
Went to psychologist recently about this very thing. She highly recommended practising mindfulness, which is learning to focus on the present, and what your senses are perceiving at any moment in time. Meditation is the training tool to learn how to do that.

Lots of resources online, including pretty much every second article on zenhabits.net. 

Her specific recommendations were:
  • Look for Jon Kabat Zinn's "Body Scan" meditation on youtube.
  • Look for the book, "Full Catastrophe Living" by the same guy.

I haven't followed the program like I should, but the little bits I've done and have made a huge difference. Highly recommend.

Thank you for posting this.  I've been reading the book off and on for the last few months and doing some of the meditations.  It has been extremely illuminating and helped me to cope with some difficult situations lately.

Omy

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #76 on: October 12, 2019, 09:48:25 AM »
PTF...this is me in a nutshell.

stephen902

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #77 on: October 13, 2019, 08:00:30 AM »
I would suggest taking a few quick evidence-questionnaires such as the GAD 7 and PHQ9: https://www.torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk/uploads/score-sheet-gad-7-anxiety-and-phq-9-depression.pdf

this would tell you if you have clinical depression or anxiety.

The only other consideration I can think of is physical fitness. This helps me a lot, and I think a lot of people. Getting a new fitness routine (like classes at the Y, or crossfit, or swimming club or something) I think could be helpful.

Cheers

infromsea

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #78 on: October 13, 2019, 06:59:13 PM »
+++++1 for headspace, 10% happier or Sam Harris meditation app.

Also, check out the stoic philosophies, lots of good stuff on death.

Also, also, also, remember that you did not exist for a very long time, you will exist for a short period of time, and then you WON'T exist for a much longer time.

As others have said, we (humans) seem to crave struggle, growth, and movement. I have a quote on my "work desk" (I work a gimmick job from home) that basically says "you can say that we should strive to be content while standing still but that's bullshit, humans require action, if they don't have it, they will make it". While I strive to be content no matter when/where I am, I remember this quote and recognize that my humanity (in my opinion, the genes that are hard-wired in me and drive much/most of my behavior via sub-conscious mechanisms)  requires me to continue to look for meaning (see Frankel's "Search for Meaning" for more).

Best of luck to you, I will reply to you in another form about another topic soon, now that I have some breathing room in my life.

Cheers!

Tim

mstr d

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #79 on: October 14, 2019, 06:04:15 AM »
I had the same thing. To much thinking. I watched a lot of Sadhguru on YouTube and that helped with the Just Live part. I was missing things in my live where I was in a "flow". Meaning su bussy with living while doing things that I don't even have the time thinking about live because I am happy engaged and challenged.

I started designing deep strategy board games. Very  mustachian hobby. You only need paper and pencils for prototypes.

I connected again with a good childhoof friend who is also on the same level intellactually. And we play strategy videogames together. And we have a huge strategic board game we continue a couple turns a week. We both love this game. And if i need to think about something I can think about what his moves going to be next week and how to react to them. I keep a physcall job as a truck driver pushing 500kg containers to activate me and interact with other people.

infromsea

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #80 on: October 14, 2019, 07:21:46 AM »
Uhh... I don't know about all those self-help books. I'd stay as far as possible from self-help if I were you, or fighting depression. Overthinking your depression is the last thing you want. Do long walks, exercise, social meetups, your own projects if you want challenge, etc. Self-help books will just bring you down, you don't want to have anyone "teach you" stuff, make up your own path.

There is a lot of truth in geradc's comment. I wouldn't argue or say they are "wrong" but I would suggest that the books, along WITH meditation, moderating caffieene/drugs/alcohol, group meetups, exercise, and maybe even counseling, might be a good balance (and it sounds like you are working on these things).

The books alone, without any action, I would agree, that situation could be problematic. Often, we can't "think" our way out of the darkness/problem we are having since it was the same brain we are lugging around that "thought" it's way into the situation.

I will emphasize one of the points above and suggest tracking your daily routines/"inputs" and try to ID any of them that are problematic. Example, I've found that if I eat too late, I don't sleep well. If I don't sleep well, I have a rough day the next day, since I'm tired, I drink more coffee, the extra coffee makes me jittery and keeps me in my head more/longer, then I have a "darker" day and might eat poorly and late and then....

jimmyshutter

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #81 on: October 14, 2019, 09:16:01 AM »
I would agree with the meditation, exercise, and general  overall care for your health. Funny thing for me is with formal meditation the more I try, the harder it is to obtain. It's almost as though I'm focusing too much on searching for a result rather than just being at peace with myself at that moment. I seem to do better being by myself in nature.

Have you considered doing volunteer work? Maybe you could offer free tutoring to local engineer students?

I'm my experience helping others has always been rewarding and I liked working with students. Teaching also stimulates the mind because you really have a good understanding of the material being discussed. You could just try it out by posting flyers or placing an ad on CL. Offering phone support would be a good way to try it out with little commitment on your part in case it didn't work out.

Right now my daughter and I are helping my son with pursuing a software dev career. She's helping with the technical parts and I'm helping with studying strategies as I have a background in teaching. Helping him is helping me feel good about myself and I'll bet my daughter is feeling the same way. Just a thought, good luck. :)

smoghat

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #82 on: October 17, 2019, 09:10:07 PM »
My way of dealing with this is gardening and home renovations. Both are deeply addictive. We aren’t talking just put vinyl siding up or put out some petunias we are talking trying to figure out how best to detail your house and what plants are the most appropriate for you to plant in our era of invasive species and climate change. These are rabbit holes I’ve been in for two years and I love them!

Hikester

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #83 on: October 21, 2019, 10:58:05 PM »
Have you tried joining some meetups? I find it that between library material, YouTube university, Netflix etc there is so much content out there to both learn/stimulate my mind and give me project ideas as well as relax my mind that it would take me many lifetimes to actually watch or learn all the stuff I am interested in. I am actually overwhelmed by all the stuff I could explore. I am usually busy with physical and social activities and of course every day living tasks.

Maybe you are experiencing this too and it’s paralyzing your thoughts or turning them to rumination? Sometimes when we have too many choices we experience anxiety. I think the key is to stay so busy with a myriad of activities and exploratory pursuits that there is no time to ruminate. Maybe try to over schedule yourself for a few months and then you will welcome the less busy times and appreciate them when they happen. There is this expectation that we have to accomplish great things, climb Mt Everest etc now that you are FIREd. Nonsense. Just take the time to appreciate this freedom you have your way by just doing projects, exploring, go to Meetups, meet people, and just plain enjoy your time and smell the flowers along the way. Then you will feel this amazing inner peace and satisfaction and be even more grateful than ever of your newfound freedom. Keep us posted Mr Green. You have arrived at your destination, it’s the journey now that counts.

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #84 on: October 21, 2019, 11:22:12 PM »
IMO, (this always works for me) read a book, maybe any book
Latest book I enjoyed  is  "The Rosie Project"
I read quite a few books recently. I can burn through a book in a day or so. I love to read but after too much it becomes negative for me because it begins to feel like something I'm doing just to pass the time, like I can't find anything better to do. Not sure if that makes any sense.

Are these "Purposeful" books?  I mean, are they books where you are supposed to learn something, improve yourself in some way, or achieve one thing or another?  If they are, I would suggest trying something else.  Read literature.  It does not have to be one of the snooty "great books," but consider something substantive.  Garcia Marquez and Allende will show you the beauty of quirk, Jeanette Winterson will pull on emotions with great language, Shakespeare comedies will expose human foibles, Phillip Roth will hit you squarely with a side of masculinity that we often don't discuss.  The list goes on.  NPR publishes a curated list of the books their people enjoyed over the previous year, and the picks tend to me magnificent.  Reading for pleasure is a joy a lot of adults have forgotten about, but to encounter great language and/or great stories is really transformative and a great antidote to a sense of disconnectedness.

infromsea

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #85 on: October 22, 2019, 09:22:11 AM »
Are these "Purposeful" books?  I mean, are they books where you are supposed to learn something, improve yourself in some way, or achieve one thing or another?  If they are, I would suggest trying something else.  Read literature.  It does not have to be one of the snooty "great books," but consider something substantive. 

That is a wonderful suggestion.

I listen to 20+ podcasts and as they continue to evolve several of them are turning into book recommendation machines. There are many folks out there following the "Tim Ferris" model [sell stuff online, start a podcast, write and sell books, attempt to influence the purchase choices of others, link everything in attempt to earn from affiliate links etc.]. Tim may not have started this (he probably didn't, he simply refined it for a new audience and put it into words that would resonate with them) but he's created an easy to follow roadmap for many. When you stand back and see the forest from the trees, and the business model/cookie cutter stamp many are following, it reduces the impact of their message when you see the "business" behind what they are doing (not judging them, simply giving my POV).

All of that out of the way, since many are following this model, they are constantly churning out books that lose quality over time since they repeat their key/core message many times, often due to the fact that they have ran out of new ideas but still crave the income stream/advances (Gretchin Rubin anyone?).

With that in mind, I think ignoring the "new stuff" and focusing on the classics (which is the suggestion of several other successful folks) is important. We can spin ourselves in circles reading everything "new" and recent, and we simply don't have that much time anyway (to read the good books AND keep up with the new stuff etc. etc. etc.) just like we don't have time to watch all the available TV, listen to all the podcasts (which become more and more like TV over time, except for a few of them like Ughhh Yeah Dude, the Comedy button, Hard-core history etc.) we don't have time to read all the new books being hawked by the industry (book industry/influencer industry/self-help industry etc.) nor should we try.

Sooooo, I think I'll start another thread where we can ID the books that are KEY to concepts and point the way where one might go to seek knowledge and understanding about a particular topic. Then, once one has read the "core" books, they might add in the "new hotness" (I've got to say, I was disappointed in atomic habits, thank goodness I waited and got it from the library rather than paying for that, I was NOT impressed but was ALMOST swayed by the marketing around that book, soooooo much hype for a re-packaging of ideas, which I get, because you might have to re-state things so the current culture will listen/get it but damn... so much hype, so little substance...).

Example:

Foundational Book                            Key Idea                                               Author                                Alternatives?
Your money or your life                     Be mindful of trading life for cash            Robbins/Dominguez             ???
Travels with Charlie                           We are all alike, be fine with YOU            Steinbeck                            ???

Any interest in this list/discussion, trying to "drill down" to the key/core books that others could reference easily?

My thinking is we keep it in this part of the forums since the concept comes up fairly regularly and we (FIRED, close to FIRE, "what it look like after FIRE") might have a slightly different view that may not add value to others.

The great thing about the boards is that if I do start a new discussion around this, the vote of the crowd will tell us if it was a good idea or not.

Ok, sorry for the long post/rant, I love books and talking about them. Going to check out Phillip Roth now!
« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 09:25:20 AM by infromsea »

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #86 on: October 22, 2019, 09:35:32 AM »
Are these "Purposeful" books?  I mean, are they books where you are supposed to learn something, improve yourself in some way, or achieve one thing or another?  If they are, I would suggest trying something else.  Read literature.  It does not have to be one of the snooty "great books," but consider something substantive. 

That is a wonderful suggestion.

 [...]

Ok, sorry for the long post/rant, I love books and talking about them. Going to check out Phillip Roth now!

Why, thank you!  My favorite Roth is American Pastoral.  The Human Stain is also good.

And Steinbeck!  Of course! I don't think a bad Steinbeck exists!

Tyson

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #87 on: October 22, 2019, 09:42:36 AM »
With that in mind, I think ignoring the "new stuff" and focusing on the classics (which is the suggestion of several other successful folks) is important. We can spin ourselves in circles reading everything "new" and recent, and we simply don't have that much time anyway (to read the good books AND keep up with the new stuff etc. etc. etc.) just like we don't have time to watch all the available TV, listen to all the podcasts (which become more and more like TV over time, except for a few of them like Ughhh Yeah Dude, the Comedy button, Hard-core history etc.) we don't have time to read all the new books being hawked by the industry (book industry/influencer industry/self-help industry etc.) nor should we try.

That is the literary equivalent of the "low information diet".  I've been doing exactly that for the past several years and I must say it's quite wonderful. 

As a culture, I think we push so much information to everyone all the time, which results in everyone feeling overwhelmed most/all of the time.  Take a step back.  Instead of watching the news, read a history book.  Instead of reading whatever the latest "hot ideas" are, check out what some of the great works from the past have to say.  I promise you that Kafka (or Hugo or Dostoevsky, or.....) are better writers than Tim Ferris. 

Also check out The Great Courses.  I know that here in Denver, the public library gives you access to a website called Kanopy that has ALL of the Great Courses (audio and video) to stream for free, just need a library card. 

infromsea

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #88 on: October 22, 2019, 10:41:24 AM »
That is the literary equivalent of the "low information diet".  I've been doing exactly that for the past several years and I must say it's quite wonderful. 

As a culture, I think we push so much information to everyone all the time, which results in everyone feeling overwhelmed most/all of the time.  Take a step back.  Instead of watching the news, read a history book.  Instead of reading whatever the latest "hot ideas" are, check out what some of the great works from the past have to say.  I promise you that Kafka (or Hugo or Dostoevsky, or.....) are better writers than Tim Ferris. 

Also check out The Great Courses.  I know that here in Denver, the public library gives you access to a website called Kanopy that has ALL of the Great Courses (audio and video) to stream for free, just need a library card.

Good points. I follow a low-information diet in most cases but had not thought to put the idea to use in books (they add so much more value than other forms of media... until they don't...). I have often been a sucker for good marketing around a book and I have a theory about some of the "must read" suggestions by many in the "influencer" space... anyone else notice how many of the "you must read this book" are NOT the classics and how many of them are NOT available at the local library... I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist but seeing this happen time and time again (You must read THIS book, I check the library, not available in any form but ohhhhh.... look.... amazon just "happens" to have it... I know, I know, I know, print on demand world and all but is it really... scratches chin...) has me looking for ulterior motives.

Why, thank you!  My favorite Roth is American Pastoral.  The Human Stain is also good.

And Steinbeck!  Of course! I don't think a bad Steinbeck exists!

I have not read all of Steinbeck but... damn that man can write. The clear prose the conveys so much... His "flow" may be un-surpassed. Steven King shows it in many works (you start reading and forget you are reading because the writing is done so well...) but, as has been stated, the "great books" have a much higher success rate at this than much of that being produced/hawked/marketed to us today/daily.

Tyson

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #89 on: October 22, 2019, 10:55:31 AM »
That is the literary equivalent of the "low information diet".  I've been doing exactly that for the past several years and I must say it's quite wonderful. 

As a culture, I think we push so much information to everyone all the time, which results in everyone feeling overwhelmed most/all of the time.  Take a step back.  Instead of watching the news, read a history book.  Instead of reading whatever the latest "hot ideas" are, check out what some of the great works from the past have to say.  I promise you that Kafka (or Hugo or Dostoevsky, or.....) are better writers than Tim Ferris. 

Also check out The Great Courses.  I know that here in Denver, the public library gives you access to a website called Kanopy that has ALL of the Great Courses (audio and video) to stream for free, just need a library card.

Good points. I follow a low-information diet in most cases but had not thought to put the idea to use in books (they add so much more value than other forms of media... until they don't...). I have often been a sucker for good marketing around a book and I have a theory about some of the "must read" suggestions by many in the "influencer" space... anyone else notice how many of the "you must read this book" are NOT the classics and how many of them are NOT available at the local library... I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist but seeing this happen time and time again (You must read THIS book, I check the library, not available in any form but ohhhhh.... look.... amazon just "happens" to have it... I know, I know, I know, print on demand world and all but is it really... scratches chin...) has me looking for ulterior motives.

I find that having a "backward looking focus" works very well in almost all areas.  Books, movies, TV - for all of them you can cut through all the crap by NOT asking "What current book/movie/TV should I be reading/watching" and change it to, "Which movie/tv/book from 5 years ago is still worth checking out?"  Those things have started to stand the test of time - make room for them. 

Having a "what's current, what's hot" focus makes it too easy to get caught up in hype and spending your most precious resource (time) on stuff that's not really worthwhile.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #90 on: October 23, 2019, 07:39:22 AM »
Two retirees that I know, FIL and his new GF, don't turn their mind off, but do a lot. He always has a building project. His previous was building a wood strip kayak. His current is building an electric guitar. She is more into organizing and being in committees that represent elders. They both feel that they use their brains.

But indeed, mindfulness might help you to not drive your brain into exhaustion all the time.

March

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #91 on: October 24, 2019, 03:01:38 PM »
My brain had slowly turned itself off in the job I retired from with a pension at 51. It was depressing. When I took my retirement job, a real challenge with a multitude of problems to solve, 7 months ago, my brain woke back up!

soccerluvof4

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #92 on: October 25, 2019, 02:15:07 AM »
This by no means is an "Engineer issue" as I was not an Engineer was a self employed business owner and sufferd/suffer through exactly the same things when I fire'd. Most of the things that help have been answered here by others. I found that long walks really clear the mind. Meditation for sure. Working out effects at least for me differently than Walking. Pick an affirmation to say over an over during walking or working out. Social interaction for sure with friends and creating or having a hobby. Like you my first or second year I was hammering away at books and it just became a time filler its wasnt enough. The more different things you fill your day with I personally feel is the key. It wasnt till the summer I started doing some side gigs and now flipping a house where i not only am having good social interaction outside of family but feel constructive that I truly feel super happy in being Fire'd.

Mr. Green

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #93 on: October 26, 2019, 08:52:34 PM »
Since this thread was resurected I'll post an update. This issue disappeared fairly quickly over the first few months of FIRE for me. By a year in I was actually shocked at how okay I was with not accomplishing anything significant during my day. I'm now pushing 2.5 years in and this is all in the distant past for me, like another life. I think it's just part of the transition. My brain was used to having constant focus and it needed to be trained not to need that. It wasn't a problem but the process was uncomfortable because it was something new. But just like anything new in life, that is how we grow. I couldn't be happier with my post-work life at this point.

koshtra

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #94 on: October 26, 2019, 10:09:47 PM »
So glad to hear it!

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Struggling to turn the brain off
« Reply #95 on: October 28, 2019, 06:59:59 PM »
I know there are a lot of engineers here and I think this issue might be more prevalent in "thinkers" than the general population. Maybe someone has some helpful advice I haven't heard yet.

I'm generally a happy person but when I have moments of deep reflection I can't help but feel like there is something eating away at my core, like a dark undercurrent because I'm no longer focused on anything that is meaningful to me. I have these bouts where I become fixated on that and it just really jacks up my day.

I have a hard time believing that it's anxiety because I don't really have much to be anxious right now, though I am still on anti-anxiety medication from issues I had earlier this year. However these feelings of wanting to focus on something meaningful have been rattling around up there for years. There are times when I pursue activities that are physically exerting because it's the only thing that seems to shut my brain down, put me in "machine mode."

Finding something meaningful to focus my energy on would be nice but I would really love to figure out how to change my thinking instead. I'd love to be able to be happy just existing, in a healthy body. I think maybe I just ruminate too much and I don't really know how to turn it off.

Have any other FIRE'ees had this problem?




I'm an inveterate daydreamer (pleasant ruminations) so I've not had the problem.