Grouping up, branching out and getting that Nag to shut up

It’s pretty constant for me: I wake up with a nag in my head. There’s no gender there - just a Nag that likes to let me have it when I wake up.

What’s it nagging about? Anything. Everything. It has a very shotgun approach. Despite my years of experience, sometimes one of those scattered pellets hits and it hurts. Nags are the same as wild animals: do not feed them. Because if you do, they become encouraged and empowered. They start to think they have you because you listen to them. And, to a degree, they’re right.

I fight back in a couple of different ways:

  1. Journalling. There’s a great book called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron that I read in my mid-20’s while forging my path back in Los Angeles. It was my Bible for many years, laying a foundation of work and awareness that helped me fight the nag with a powerful tool she calls “morning pages”. It’s simple, rote work but it really does move mountains. You get up, very first thing and scribble down all that nag stuff on the page. Write exactly what you’re thinking, feeling and hearing unfiltered for 20 minutes straight or until you fill three full pages long hand - she makes a big deal about that, doing it long hand vs. computer. I believe it’s because it’s more organic. Either way, I highly recommend it.

  2. Exercise. Which one? The one you like, because it’s the one you’ll do. It’s simple and it’s about your mind as much as your body. Talk about a detox. Get up, get engaged and, God love you, sweat. If you’ve done that, you’ll have beaten that nag to a pulp. And if it rears its ugly head later on in the day, you’ll at minimum have two things to point at.

  3. Listen to someone else. That’s right - open your ears, actively, and be a sounding board for someone else. Your nag doesn’t stand a chance against your active listening powers. It’s like opening the barn doors of your ear holes - the nag just slips right out. And good riddance!

All those being said, remember, all of these are processes, not destinations. The only way to gain their benefit is by daily practice.

One thing that helps in keeping it a daily practice is finding someone else to be accountable with. Going through any journey with another person adds the opportunity for tremendous enrichment.

Expect the Nag. It’s part of our human condition. Know, too, that beating it back is well within your power.

— written by Robert Cochrane

Parkinson's Place