Stop the Octopus Mind

I am so amazed and fascinated by the complexity of our brains. One moment, my thoughts can be at a stand still and the next, I am drowning in endless thoughts. Most likely neither occurs when I need it to! Three ‘clock in the morning seems to be a perfect time for my brain synapses to go off like fireworks – each one sparking a new tangent of thought. Yet, when I have a block of time reserved for idea generation – my mind is blank or more accurately so overwhelmed it just shuts down.

It ends up that short-term memory can only hold a small amount of information – around 7 items at one time. As thoughts pop into our mind, memory starts to fill up quickly so older information gets “deleted”. The cool thing is if the important information is repeated enough times, we can transfer it to our long-term memory. The key is to be sure it is etched in there so the same thought doesn’t take up space in short-term.

Have you ever felt like there are just too many things that need remembered, but think it can be dealt with later? You made it important enough, but Later might not be so ideal – remember the three o’clock wake up I mentioned. I call this the Octopus Mind – the thoughts become out of control and start to overwhelm you.

I have learned to stop the Octopus Mind by acknowledging the thought. By doing this the thought is given a place to store in your long-term memory so short-term can be freed up.

Try it some time, when your brain seems full grab a piece of paper and start writing down all the thoughts. Once you get those down, you may notice even more new thoughts are coming in. I say keep it coming until you can’t think of anything else.

Works every time for me. I actually keep a sketchbook on my nightstand so I can easily capture what I am thinking and get back to bed.

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Is there a certain time of day you struggle with an Octopus Mind?
How do you keep track of all your thoughts?

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