Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Studio Journal Episode 11 - Underwear gnomes and insomnia

You probably know from your own experience that the more you think of any particular memory, the stronger that memory becomes.  This also makes it easier to bring that memory to mind later.  So you have a great weekend, you think about it a lot, that memory becomes strong, and it pops into mind more often later.

There is some new evidence that the same thing happens with particular emotions and attitudes.  If you are constantly dwelling on negativity or complaining about negative things that happen, the negative brain center gets stronger and the more likely you are to think negatively about future events, even if they aren’t so bad.  It becomes a self-reinforcing cycle.  The more negative you are about something today, the more you will be negative about something else tomorrow and the more that negative experiences from the past will come to mind.  The best thing to do when you are experiencing something negative is to keep your mouth shut about it and quickly think about something else.  Or at least reframe the negative experience in your mind so that it doesn’t seem so bad.

With that in mind, I have two stories to share that at first seemed negative but I am reframing them.  I moved in to my new apartment two weeks ago.  At the time, I remember unpacking my coasters, not knowing where to put them yet, so I put them aside to unpack later.  For the past week I have been searching and searching for them because I know where to put them now and I have needed them a few times (or at least one of them).  Coasters aren’t a huge deal, but it was really annoying to know that they are somewhere.  I have looked in every box, bin, and drawer and they are nowhere to be found.  I could have thrown them away by mistake, but I don’t think so.  I could have put them in my donation pile and given them away by mistake, but I don’t think so.  I have now come to the conclusion that the underwear gnomes took them.

That brings me to the second story.  For the past 10-15 years, I have had really bad insomnia.  It started out with me falling asleep pretty fast, but then waking up after only an hour of sleep and then falling back asleep only an hour before I had to wake up.  So I would just be getting two 1-hour naps (plus a third one during the afternoon at work if I had time).  A few years later, it moved to falling asleep right away, waking up after a few hours, and then being up the rest of the night.  Then a few years after that, it moved to not being able to fall asleep at all until just before I had to wake up.  Then just last week I started on my fourth different kind of insomnia.  I didn’t even know there were four kinds of insomnia, so it has been a learning experience for me.  Now, I fall asleep pretty quickly, wake up just ½ hour or so before my alarm, but feel like I haven’t slept at all. 

I couldn’t figure out how this is possible until I connected the two stories.  Apparently, the underwear gnomes are interfering with my sleep while they look for more things to steal in my apartment.