Do you ever have those moments when you find yourself silently begging your mind to be quiet? Or just wishing that there were some kind of temporary ‘off switch’ so that you could get a few moments peace from the constant questioning, analyzing, observing and general nonsensical chatter of your thoughts?
The simple fact is that despite us wishing it would be silent; the mind often has a ‘mind of its own’.
One thing that I have learnt over the years is that there are different techniques I can use to help quiet my mind. Maybe not silence it completely, but just make the volume of the thoughts less noticeable, so that I am less distracted, more focused, or better able to relax.
Here are my top 5 tips for getting your mind to calm down.
- Meditation– Meditation is a fantastic tool for calming and unwinding both your body and mind. One of the problems that people often face is an anxiety that they are not meditating properly, which doesn’t help calm the mind at all. My advice? Just relax into it! There is no right or wrong way when it comes to closing the eyes and preparing to meditate. If you are new to mediation, or if you have struggled with meditating in the past, try following a guided relaxation or mindfulness meditation. You can find these for free online and there are literally thousands to choose from. If you find that the first one, or few, isn’t to your liking then don’t give up! Meditation’s come in all different styles and types, and it is important to find one that is guided by a voice that you can relax to.
- Breathing practices– Breathing plays a surprisingly big role in how we are feeling on an emotional/mental level. By calming the flow of your breath, and implementing slow, relaxed nostril breathing, you will be surprised how much you can calm your feelings and thoughts. So try it next time you are wanting to calm your mind. If you really need to redirect the pattern of your thoughts, then try mentally following along with each breath. Silently repeating ‘Breathing in….Breathing out’ with each inhalation and each exhalation.
- Walking or Running solo– Sometimes the chattering of the mind is happening because there are things that you really need to think through before you can let them go. When this is the case for me, I like to go out for a run on my own and let the thinking process takes its course. For others walking helps. Befriend your thoughts and let them play through your mind and you may find that they think themselves through.
- Write it down– Keeping a journal of some kind is a great way to focus your thoughts and calm your mind. You may wish to write poetry, jot down thoughts and ideas, recall what has happened in your day, or perhaps simply doodle or sketch. The act of recording your thoughts and ideas is a great way of focusing your mind and working through specific problems. The other advantage is that you get to keep a record of this part of yourself to look back over in the future.
- Connect with nature– There is something incredibly calming about nature. Getting out and about in the fresh air always helps calm my mind and relax that chattering of my thoughts. When I get a chance I walk along the beach, smelling the salty air, listening to the waves breaking on the shore and the feeling of sand between my toes. I also like to go to parks and take my shoes off and walk in the grass. Try getting out and connecting with nature, even if it is just admiring a beautiful sunset or watching storm clouds building up on the horizon, nature has an amazing way of calming the mind.