Tracy Winchell

Do you panic when you are stressed? Try this!

published10 months ago
2 min read

Hello Reader,

Welcome to Week 2 of this free email series designed to help you identify and cage your monkey mind.

Email 1 from last week asks you to consider a broad question.

What is your monkey mind saying to you?

Full confession:

Writing the first email in this series, I felt like a professor imparting information to help you solve a problem I had conquered.

The truth is, we don't conquer monkey minds. We don't conquer the tendency to do the wrong thing. We rarely "eliminate" self-destructive tendencies.

We learn to manage and live with the issues that threaten our wellbeing.

💥 The day after writing the intro to this series, my 🐵🧠 wrecked my ability to function at even 90%.

🏎 It felt like my brain was gonna cause "the big one" at Talladega (one of the fastest auto racing tracks in the U.S.).

😬 Every muscle felt like coiled springs.

I call this symptom "Barney Fife brain."

📻 I talked like a $3 radio.

📈 Anxiety spiked.

🛌 Couldn't sleep.

💓 Heart rate could have provided electricity for my entire region.

Can journaling be the solution for manic episodes like this?

Probably not.

Journaling can be a solution.

First though, I must recognize something is out of control.

  • Stress?
  • Anxiety?
  • Heart rate?
  • Something else?

I switched up the question from last week:

"What is your monkey mind saying to you?" ➡️
"What is your monkey mind doing to you?"

This email began with what last week's episode was doing to me.

The exercise allowed me to gather evidence about what might be the root cause.

As I reviewed my responses, I knew what I needed to do:

  1. Call my doc
  2. Longer soaks in the 🛀🏻
  3. Keep working my journaling routine
  4. Double and triple-down on my breathing exercises
  5. Add a few gentle stretching exercises to my routine

My doc and I switched out some blood pressure meds. Combined with the four other action items, I'm feeling so much better.

Here's a journal entry:

Hey, Monkey Mind!
You tried a scare tactic, didn't you?
Daily routines kept my rational brain engaged during your short reign of terror, which helped me put together an action plan that put you back in your cage.
Stay there and we will get along just fine!

Instead of succumbing to lies about what was happening to me, I looked for, and found, information from journal entries, heart rate data, and my long-time family physician.

The process I used mirrors Jon Acuff's three-step method for silencing the irrational part of our brain.

Listen to what it's saying
Gather evidence about what's really happening
Tell yourself the truth
--Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking, (Jon Acuff)

Between now and next week's installment of this series, please think about this question as a tool for gathering evidence:

What is your monkey mind DOING to you?

Some categories to consider

  • Body
  • Mental health
  • Relationships
  • Ability to focus
  • Reasoning skills

In next week's email, we will walk through the consequences of short-and long-term manic monkey-mind-powered episodes.

From there, we share a few journaling tools to help you nip a monkey mind episode in the bud.


P.S. Questions? Reply. I will respond.