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Jedi mind tricks

When I was much younger, I was read a book by Douglas Adams (It may have been "Mostly Harmless", but I forget exactly which it was) in which he described a scene surrounding a character waiting in line to catch a plane, or to check his bags in at an airport... something of that nature. In any case, the character was very annoyed about something, and decided to try something based on an article he read in a (ficticious) volume of Time magazine, which claimed that as short term memory can only hold about seven thoughts at once, in order to put something out of your mind all you need to do is to think of seven or so things in as rapid succession as you can.

I know, it sounds a bit hokey.

In recent times, what with all the stress in my life, I've had problems sleeping due to dwelling on anxiety-causing thoughts or not being able to get back to sleep after having nightmares and being concerned I will just go back into the bad dream.

That was a whole lot of needless explaination.

Anyway, I've been trying to use a new tactic, as suggested by Douglas Adams, when I am dwelling on thing I don't want to think about - to think about as many different things as quickly as possible, so as to forget what I was originally worried about. It's taken a little bit of practice, but I seem to be getting better at it. It's also oddly satisfying to use my own mind against itself.

Or maybe that's just me...

In other news, today I picked up a new swanky pair of boots for nuwishas_tail's wedding which are also a birthday present from my parents. Yay for not having to pay for very expensive, but ever so worth it, boots. Photos ot follow, once we have moved and I have found my camera...


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 19th, 2005 12:20 pm (UTC)
"He was a large man, impressively large and well-built - even expertly built - but he was also definitely odd-looking in a way Kate couldn't quite deal with. She couldn't even say what it was that was odd about him, only that she was immediately inclined not to include him in her list of things to think about at the moment. She remembered reading an article which had explained that the central processing unit of the human brain only had seven registers, which meant that if you had seven things in your mind at the same time and then thought of something else, one of the other seven would instantly drop out."
Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, Douglas Adams, page 5
Apr. 19th, 2005 09:49 pm (UTC)
You beat me to it. I was going to say it sounded more like Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, than one of the Hitchiker Trilogy of five books :)
Apr. 19th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC)

I developed a couple of tricks for getting to sleep...

One is a visualisation; I imagine a starry sky, with clouds. Then I sweep the clouds away, and then the stars...then all I have is a focus of black night sky, without stars.

The other, that works a lot better is a breathing trick that I discovered. I take long slow breaths, but hold each one for just a fraction of a second and then let it go by completely relaxing everything, so the breaths turn into a series of sighs.

I find a combination works kind of well. If my mind is racing I just make early-morning LJ posts and get by on espresso the next day :)
Apr. 19th, 2005 09:54 pm (UTC)
I find that when I can't sleep, I get nearly as much rest by meditating and focussing on only breathing and slowing the breathing to roughly six breaths a minute. The other part of this is to envision sinking into the bed (you know when it's happening because it feels like you are sinking in).

Don't know if this'll help you, but there it is.
Apr. 19th, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC)
Something I read in a book once, someone shared their problems with a friend, and the friend started making suggestions for how to solve the problems. The first person turned to the second and said "I didn't share my problems because I wanted you to solve them, I shared them simply to share, to help me with the burden of them. What you should say instead is 'I understand, I too have had those problems'"

In summary. I understand, I too have had trouble sleeping in the past, and share the burden with you.
Apr. 19th, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC)
Congratulations miss_rynn, you have taken your first steps to mastering the art of doublethink. Big Brother will be proud.

That said, I am glad it is helping you sleep better. It just seems a little worrying that you can con your brain into not thinking about things.
Apr. 20th, 2005 12:40 am (UTC)
Fair point.

Sorry Miss_Rynn.
Apr. 20th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC)

The people studying this generally mark that at 7±2 items held in short-term memory at once, so you'd better think of nine things just in case you tend towards the upper end of the common range. Especially if you think you're more intelligent than the average.

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )