Day 1135: Calming an overactive brain

Yesterday, my overactive brain noticed a marketing pamphlet that came in the mail:


Calming an overactive brain is something I’m working on, as I prepare to try out for “The Voice” in less than two weeks.

Apparently, my overactive brain has been an issue in my vocal performances for many years, as shown here in a decades-old goal-setting sheet from the Boston Voice Workshop:


My overactive brain wishes to direct your brain to the fifth item on that list, which says “mental.”

Here’s what I know about calming an overactive brain:

  • Take a deep, cleansing breath.
  • Be in the moment.
  • Let go of fears about consequences.
  • Let go of unhelpful memories from the past.
  • Appreciate being alive.
  • Be aware of love.
  • Know you are worthy.
  • Trust your own wisdom.
  • Follow your heart.
  • Express yourself freely.

My calmer brain realizes this, now:

Those not only calm an overactive brain, they also improve an active vocal performance.

My vocal coach, Sherée Dunwell, is going to help calm my overactive brain and improve my voice, later today.  Here are some photos that my overactive brain and iPhone captured two days ago from her televised performance on Boston’s Community Auditions  talent show, where Sherée won this season’s grand prize:


Sherée is not only a fabulous singer, she actively calms overactive brains like mine.

What do you know about calming an overactive brain? You could help calm this overactive brain, today, by leaving a comment.

Overactive thanks to all brains out there, including yours!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 42 Comments

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42 thoughts on “Day 1135: Calming an overactive brain

  1. I have the most trouble with my overactive brain when I am trying to fall asleep and there are no distractions- it’s full speed ahead! 🙂

  2. I do enjoy your term, “overactive brain!” So much better than ADD or any other negative label. I have suffered a lot with this…and I do not think it is a bad thing. I realize recently, after decades of suffering, that I make certain connections quickly, and am moving quickly from one connection to another–and it does make logical sense to me—however, not to others. Their frustration often led to negative comments about my functioning…I just realized the other day, that some could not “keep up”–and, as a consequence, put me down—which being the kind of person I am, I took to heart…believing them. How much our words affect others…Thank you for sharing your thoughts so courageously!

  3. Deep, conscious breathing. It always helps to slow down that hamster wheel of a brain, at least for me. ❤️

  4. How wonderful that you’re trying out for ‘The Voice’! I really can’t add to the advice you’ve given here – I think it covers everything, and I could do with taking some of it myself. The very best of luck with your audition, I’ll be interested to find out how it goes.

  5. Overactive brain is the enemy of sleep. Sigh. I’ve had some success by putting overdrive brain into “daydream” mode. I’ll start to imagine a pleasant make-believe scenario and the next thing I know, I’m out like a liht!

  6. I am notoriously bad at this. I’ve tried all your techniques but when it’s 3:00am and something is on my mind, it is OVERLY on my mind. Maybe I need to try harder, but I’ll have to spend time tonight worrying about why I worry so much. So, yeah.

    • Worry about worry can be wearying and worrisome, Jill! Maybe … try something different, like praising yourself for being AWESOME at worrying.

  7. Breathing works for me. 🙂

    Oh, and coming here works too because here I find all sorts of wonderful ideas on how to live my life in grace.

  8. I hope that your coach can help you calm your overactive brain so that your voice can escape the cacaphony and be a pure conveyor of your soul. (I am not a singer so I am just guessing that that is what you are aiming for.)

    My overactive brain is fighting wars of rhetoric all night and turning my stomach into knots. I don’t want to calm my overactive brain right now, but I would like to harness its energy to a single, achievable purpose.

  9. EEK!!! Only 2 weeks until your “Voice” audition. That is good that you have a voice coach guiding you. I have an overactive brain, that never likes to switch off. When it goes into overdrive at night, I try to calm it by reciting all 50 states in alphabetical order. That is quite a mind-numbing task, and usually does the trick.

    • Eeeek! I’m glad I’m not trying out for a quiz show where I’d need to name all 50 states in alphabetical order, SD. I am in awe of your brain.

  10. The key to calming an overactive brain seems to be creative expression. I’m reminded of Henry Miller’s short story “The Angel Is My Watermark” in which he writes about being unable to stop writing, possessed by inspiration. It’s only after he turns to painting that he’s able to calm his overactive brain. He has to dig through a lot to find the source of his inspiration. Sometimes it takes a lot of work to quiet the noise, but considering the overactive brain as part of a process rather than an obstacle seems like a benefit.
    I hope and believe you’ll go into your audition having found your angel.
    In the meantime here’s this portrait of Voltaire in the throes of inspiration.

  11. 1) Start by looking for a quiet place, a room where no one will enter.
    2) Lie down, make sure that no one will interrupt you (the cats are okay, they will adapt)
    3) Look for the silence, if possible, try to recognize it in the room you’re in
    4) In your mind try to concentrate on one thing only (flowers, skies, clouds, if difficult play a nature sound recording with isolated rain, thunder, waterfalls, birds, make sure the sounds are isolated)
    5) If nature recording is too distracting, put some ear plugs on, and do the exercise in your mind only. Visualize only natural things : clouds, trees, flowers. Tell yourself over and over again that you’re okay.

  12. Ann,
    Remember, God is in the audience too. Sing to please Him, and you will please all there.

  13. ((Hugs))
    ((Breathe deep))
    I also like Maria’s advice on connecting to your inner peace and letting thoughts go.

  14. Carol Ferenc

    In addition to being a talented blogger and writer, you’re also a talented vocalist? Yay, Ann!!
    Taking that deep, cleansing breath helps me calm down more than anything. And when I’m stressed or nervous, I just keep on with the deep breathing.

  15. Those things you listed are good in helping calming your over active brain. I also think the first step is aware of it when occurs. Keep note of that state of mind as long as it persists. More importantly, forcing it to go away makes it worse or can bring other unwanted emotion.

  16. Maureen

    Speaking of overactive brains, Ann, mine is wondering if you solved the problem of the mysterious electrical outlet. 🙂

  17. Just enjoy

  18. Good luck and great singing!

  19. lundygirl

    Thanks for this – great list. Will be trying to let go of unhelpful memories from the past.

  20. Good luck, I’m working on mine too.

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