I have a confession to make. I have a new hobby. Recently I enjoy observing myself for things like what is drawing my attention at the moment or what is the cause of my mental strain.
I wake up early. So I sleep early. I would start to panic if I still find myself awake after some time. I keep saying to myself, "don't think, relax." I usually can't sleep if there is something in my mind. I notice that the more I try to stop myself from thinking, the harder it is to shut down my head. I can't relax.
The thought in my head creates a tension. If I try to stop, it will make it even more intense. It often turns into a sleepless night.
Tensions can sneak in at any time like when trying to make a point in an internet discussion, in a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization, during public speaking, when hearing someone saying bad things about you, when discussing politic or religion topics, during an emergency, in the middle of solving a hard problem, or when deadline approaching.
Tensions aren't necessarily bad things. I love soccer. I like watching soccer when there are tensions. Soccer without pressure is boring. Injury time is often the most enjoyable.
I made an app to emulate tension. I would try to make progress every day on my side projects within rigid time constraints. It helps me to concentrate all my attention and effort for the tasks.
However, tension or stress requires a lot of energy. Long stress is harmful. Often, there is no way to escape. It is like a demon you can't resist. The best thing you can do is to observe. Don't try to relax.