The brain is a bad neighborhood

Thank god other people can’t hear the screaming inside my head, because the thoughts that seize me upon awakening are relentless. 

Sometimes I feel like I need a defense team to fight the sea of voices clamoring for a hearing. Racing to keep pace with my own neural impulses, it’s like a second job. 

But that’s okay. I accept and understand that I have been endowed by nature with a brain that can race. 

Maisel’s insightful research about why smart people hurt calls this state racing brain syndrome. The therapist explains that when we’re dealing with a racing brain that doesn’t come with an off switch or a break pedal, it inclines itself toward insomnia, mania, obsession, compulsion and addiction. 

And so, it’s driven by a certain powerful pressure or need or impulse, accompanied by the feeling that we simply must get on with whatever it’s proposing. 

As such, I have become skilled at quieting the monster inside my head. It has taken many years to master this conditioning technique, but it works wonders. Here’s the essence of it:

Instead of tossing and turning and crashing and banging around and around on the endless racetrack of compulsive thoughts, I firmly turn my attention to something else. 

Instead of allowing myself to become totally consumed with intrusive and irrational thoughts until I actually raise my pulse and blood pressure, I firmly turn my attention to something else. 

Instead of allowing the thief inside my head to steal away my joy, I firmly turn my attention to something else. 

Instead of trying to control and judge and bully the murmuring stream of thoughts that runs along my mind, I firmly turn my attention to something else. 

Are you noticing a pattern? 

Channel those neurons elsewhere. Make the mental railroad switch. Spend your energy on a new pursuit. And the voices will go away. 

It’s like my yoga teacher always says. 

The brain is a bad neighborhood. Stay out of it. 

Don’t allow yourself to become unceremoniously yanked around by your thoughts. Turn your attention to something else. 

Yeats famously prayed:

God guard me from the thoughts men think. 

But with so many questions and voices and ideas inside my head, spinning like plates on sticks, perhaps the thoughts of other men aren’t our problem. 


Do you tend to underestimate the extent to which your own hostile thoughts impact your life?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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