15 Jul Do you ever hear yourself say, “You do not want to be in my head … ”?
Have you ever taken note on your internal monologue? Have you ever wondered if everyone else’s internal voices are like yours? Recent media postings have sparked interest regarding these thoughts. We want to talk specifically to those internal voices that do not seem to take a break. Some people compare these voices to a hamster running on a wheel that rotates at a million miles an hour, while others describe their internal voice as a powerful tool used to multitask.
Perseveration (or perseverative thoughts) is what we use to describe this phenomenon. Perseveration is the mind’s continuous repetition of a response (word, phrase, gesture, etc). Imagine your brain getting stuck on an idea and not being able to change its train of thought. Oftentimes, this type of thinking is caused by a brain injury and is a common feature of frontal lobe syndrome and some neurodegenerative diseases.
Our characteristics and attributes are thought to contribute to our personalities. Some even say this is some sort of superpower! The ability for the mind to think of so many things and make mental processing so sharp and efficient is remarkable. However, our brains and bodies work on a system of gas and brake pedals. There are instances when our superpower needs a moment to rest and our mind needs to unwind. This can be a very difficult mental concept or near physically impossible thing for a perseverative mind. Although pressing on the gas pedal of thoughts is helpful when needed, we also need our brakes to kick in, so we don’t crash. With a perseverative mind, you may notice you have a tendency for irritability at the end of the day. You may also notice you have a hard time falling asleep … or you have exhausted all your energy and end up crashing (because there is no brake pedal) when you go to sleep.
The brain’s ability to reach a state of quietness and relaxation is good for overall health. Our brake pedal helps us sleep, digest food, store thoughts into memory and process information. Our gas pedal allows us to be on guard and prepared, have fast reflexes to respond to stimuli and act in accordance with our surroundings. A car is not functional if both the gas and brake pedals do not work. In the same way, our brains and bodies need balance between the gas and brake pedal.
Perseverative thoughts can be intrusive at times, leading us to think constantly of negative things that impact our mental, physical and metabolic health. Sometimes, the thoughts can be so intrusive that you end up thinking of something for days that may have hurt you or upset you. This means that letting go of a thought or feeling, for you, may have a different meaning than for the average person. You may have the intention to move forward and disregard those thoughts, but you are simply unable to do so as quickly as you desire. This can make you feel as if you are on some sort of daily rollercoaster of thoughts.
Perseverative thoughts can be lonely. These thoughts are loud to you, in the forefront of your mind, but quiet to those around you. Not being able to relate to other people or being afraid of sounding “different” tends to make us want to self-isolate, but this only further damages our self-image, relationships and, most importantly, quality of life.
Luckily, there is help. There is no longer the need for loneliness and isolation. Many practitioners in the field of neuroscience want to help make a difference. A therapy you may consider is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – a painless magnetic repetitive impulse that passes the skull and turns on areas of the brain that are thought to help lower the intensity and frequency of perseverative thoughts. TMS is available at the Synapse Human Performance Center. For more information on our services, or to see if we can move forward with your care, contact us at SynapseHPC.com or call 855.902.3400.
We see you. We hear you. We are ready to help balance brains with bodies.