The Chimp Paradox describes that you have three parts to your brain:
– Your human (your logical brain).
– Your chimp (your emotional brain).
– Your computer (your memories and values: what makes you who you are).
Ideally, you want your human, or logical side to be in charge, but sometimes the chimp (your emotions) can take over uncontrollably. This is where your human needs to come in and put your chimp back in its cage.
You know what I mean. Sometimes things just go a little haywire, and before you know it, you’re upset, overthinking things or even crying. This is where I try to crack a smile and be grateful for all that I have, or even tie my cape on a little tighter. But sometimes it doesn’t work.
Take recently for me. I’ve come back from holidays, after sleeping brilliant whilst away – 8.5-9.5 hours a night: bliss. I’d love to get that amount of sleep usually, but I can’t even muster 8 hours just now.
Since jet lag Tuesday last week, each night I’ve been waking up between midnight and 4am, unable to get back to sleep. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Arg. I’m maybe getting 2-5 hours sleep, then PING! I’m wide awake.
To get to sleep, I’ve tried everything I know of, lavender, a hot relaxing bath, exercise earlier in the day, gadgets away before 8pm… you name it. Asking my brother (GP) what’s best to do (when I know already), relaxation techniques, the lot.
One night I even took a sleeping pill I was prescribed a while back (but hadn’t taken), but I don’t want to rely on that.
I’m lying there wide awake, in the dark, frustrated … angry even, trying everything I’ve read to get back to sleep. I’m tired. I’m gubbed. But I’m not upset. I’m just trying everything I can to get back settled into a good sleep routine. Again and again.
I’ve learned from the Chimp Paradox, that if I start to get upset about it, it’s just my chimp trying to take control. My emotions getting the better of me. I like ‘monkey’ better, so I call my chimp my monkey. It’s better for my ‘human’ to have control, so I try to be logical instead.
The book even suggests that you name your monkey. So, I’ve given my monkey a name. I did think ‘Crazy’ would be a good name, but then I remember my good friend from uni Gemma making me a card once with ‘Loony’ on it, so ‘Loony’ it is.
So when I’m a little lost or emotional, for whatever reason, I now realise it’s Loony trying to take over, and I calm him down and put him back in his cage. Then I remember what’s good, smile and check to see if I have my cape tied on tight, and I know I’m good.
Loony can sit and make faces at me all day, but he’s not going to win.
Loony is going back in his box, and he’d better stay there, or else.
Ps: I’ll be alright, I just need to get back intoroutine and I’ll be fine. 🙂