I just had an interesting conversation with a co-worker about mental money — the currency of energy one has to deal with stress and pain (both emotional and physical).
He advocates a mental process wherein a person, before going to sleep, runs down their own personal lists of emotional and physical symptoms and puts them away — a technique learned in the special forces.
“Basically,” he said. “You concentrate on the first thing on your list. Say, not being able to pay your bills. You ask yourself, ‘Can I do anything about this right now?’ If the answer is no, then you imagine putting that stress away. You’re telling your brain, ‘I acknowledge this issue, but I’m also saying that there’s nothing to be done about it right now.’ You move on down your list until everything has been identified and put away. Then, you tell yourself that there’s nothing keeping you from going to sleep, having restful sleep, and waking up refreshed — ready to tackle the issues that you put away for the night.”
He warns that if you have more than 10 things on your list, then you’re probably dealing with more issues than you have mental money to pay for, and you should seek a therapist’s help/advice.
“I believe everyone can fly,” he went on to say. “Except that at a young age we were told we couldn’t and we believed them. This mind-over-matter thing can unlock untold doors for you and what you can accomplish, you just need to have confidence in yourself and be able to believe that you’re telling yourself the truth.”
He said that this technique is what they ended up teaching to astronauts — because they’d shoot these guys out into space and then, a few hours into their journey Houston would come online and say, “Guys, it’s time for sleep.” And no matter how exciting it was to be looking out the windows at Earth’s rapidly decreasing size or watching the stars flying past, the truth of the matter was that these astronauts had to fall asleep because in eight hours they’d arrive and would need to be ready to work. So, they utilized this method to focus themselves on putting away their excitement and preparing themselves to fall asleep.
As he was talking and explaining, I saw the practical application of this method. Yet, I found myself internally shaking my head. I’ve tried similar techniques before… Courtney once gave me a before-bed exercise where you state aloud your intention (mine was to fall asleep and wake up rested, refreshed), take a big swig of water, then lay down and fall asleep. And yes, I did wake up when my alarm went off — but I immediately fell back asleep. It was as if my mind said, “OK, I have to wake up… Hello morning! Check that box and now… back to sleep! Screw this mental mind-power crap!”
I tried a multitude of variations on my intention statement over the next few nights: “I will lay down, go to sleep, wake up and STAY UP when my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m.!” and “I will go to sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to start my day when my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m.!” Finally, “I’m going to hit the damn hay and when my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., I’m going to put my feet on the floor and get the eff up!”
I figured that my brain was just acting as my own personal Worst Enemy. But today, after talking to my co-worker I have to wonder… did it not work because I have run out of — or am short on — mental money?