Do you find yourself constantly ruminating about some recent past event or mistake?
Do you feel that you are unable to accomplish a few tasks because you are not “in your zone”?
Have people commented that you seem scattered and not yourself, lately?
If you have answered yes, to any of these questions then you have come to the right place to quiet your mind.
Now to explain the working of our human mind, you can take an example of a sponge.
The sponge soaks all the water that surrounds itself, we humans too most of the time, end up soaking the thought, vibes, and energy of those who surround us.
Do you know what happens when the sponge soaks more than its capacity?
Firstly, it becomes, heavy
Secondly it starts to leak.
So what is the ideal way to let go of the excess?
Simple, you make sure that if it gets heavy then drain the access so that it has proportional level of water, ie, it soaks up to its potential.
In a similar way, your racing thoughts too, contribute to feeling ”heaviness” and this makes it impossible for you to accomplish the task at hand.
The way one leaks here is, if you are doing a task, you would see that you have committed many mistakes or you are taking too much time to accomplish the task.
Thus, once you acknowledge that you are having racing thoughts, are experiencing stress related to some future event or are engaging in rumination of past events, half of the job of quieting your mind has been achieved.
The important point is to be AWARE that your mind is working more than its capacity and then my friend we work upon quieting it.
Why is quieting your mind necessary?
If you do not then it starts interfering with your work performance, with your relationship. With a cluttered mind you will also find it impossible to fall asleep quickly or feel tired.
As Maria Konnikva rightly said, the most powerful mind is a quiet mind. It is the mind that is present, reflective, mindful of its thoughts and state. It does not always multitask, but when it does, it does it with a purpose.
So here are ten effective ways in which you can quiet your mind everyday!
Stop. Breathe. Repeat.
By breathing I do not mean one that you are doing right now. This is so natural and automatic that you were not even aware of it, until you read this sentence, which is exactly what you have to do.
Remember how kids stick a cartoon label or sticker on almost everything right from their books to their folder, bags, etc?
You can do the same thing, but in place of funky stickers, you can opt for a simple dot sticker, on the things you do.
Say you have a habit of getting up for coffee every three hours or so, this is where you can stick the sticker upon the coffee mug.
This will serve as a reminder that every time you see this sticker, you are supposed to take three or four deep breaths.
This will help you relax in the moment and be present in the moment. Go on and add these stickers to the everyday objects, eg, refrigerator, novel, diary.
2. Take a power nap!
A quick fifteen minute power nap is seen to be beneficial to calm down racing thoughts or to help charge up the body and the brain. A word of caution, try the focused breathing exercise, ie, focusing upon your inheration and exhilaration, while you take the nap. This will help you to ignore those unwanted recurring thoughts. You will truly feel recharged after the nap.
3. Be Mindful in the everyday things you do:
As one of the famous sayings goes, BE MINDFUL EVEN IF YOUR MIND IS FULL.
A few everyday things that we engage almost automatically include:
- Walking from home to the office or to the station.
- Typing on the keyboard
- Checking, replying back to emails
- Attending calls or greeting a client or guest, etc.
Most of the time, our response and our engagement in them is quite automatic.
Thus we do not pay attention to the way in which “WE” accomplished the task/ activity.
Thus, next time you engage in any of the tasks, observe how efficiently you have done it, and while performing the task, be present to your own bodily sensation, your breath, the other person’s response, listen actively, smile, etc. These will aid you to be present rather than doing them with an absent mind.
4. Get your jumbled thoughts upon paper :
This is what I do everytime I find myself getting affected by my racing thoughts.
I put them down on a piece of paper or write them in my diary.
So, when you write anything on paper, you are entirely focused on that writing activity. It helps you understand what it is that you are feeling, that is making your mind feel uneasy.
That way if you see that there are some recurrent thoughts or feelings that come up always, then you know which aspect you need to work on.
5. Go out and experience the colors of nature!
Nature has the solution to most of our problems. Thus anytime you feel worked up or stressed by the racing thoughts, go out for a walk to the nearest park, beach, etc.
While you are walking listen to those birds chirping, feel the wind touching your face.
When you walk, observe the surroundings, if there is grass nearby, then try walking on the cool grass barefoot. This will help you feel rejuvenated!
6. Meet and communicate with an actual friend / human:
Ever since the outbreak of pandemic, there has been a significant increase in people experiencing anxiety and stress.
This was mostly because they were unable to contact their close or loved ones or physically present with them.
So a way you can decrease your anxiety and calm your mind, in case you feel it’s getting too much, talking to an actual human being helps.
This is because, firstly, our thoughts may not always be correct about everything that we are thinking.
Secondly when you meet the person, suppose your friend, you will be able to share your thoughts more clearly and can vent easily, rather than writing them down or keeping them with yourself.
7. Watch or read something different:
So suppose you are stressed about the upcoming meeting with some foreign clients. You do not want to mess anything up, thus you keep rechecking the meeting room, your notes, the ppt, etc. This will make the situation worse. You will get more stressed.
In a situation like this, firstly stop!
And watch a two minute video of something funny, say Mr Bean, that would help you relax.
Or you can just meditate for 5 mins, before actually meeting the client or entering the meeting hall.
Or have some water and sit back on an empty chair and day dream that the meeting went amazing and they loved your presentation.
(PS: Daydreaming is linked with increased levels of creativity and is a sign of intelligence!)
8. Make a Gratitude list :
When was the last time you were grateful for the things you have in life, right now?
Did the question make you fumble?
If yes, then now is the right time to start practising a “gratitude list”, ie, things you are grateful for.
My gratitude list includes being grateful for such a supportive family, loving kids and a kind S.O. And I am also grateful that I have a healthy functioning body that aids me to work. These are small things if you see, but it’s always the small things that matter the most.
9. Listen to relaxing music:
Research has shown that listening to relaxing music, such as the sound of flute or the sound of rain or waterfall, etc, have been found to have a calming effect upon our brain. By listening to them, the brain’s meditative state is activated, which then releases more dopamine into our system. Dopamine is nothing but the hormone that makes us feel calm and happy!
So, next time you wish to quiet your mind, try to listen to some relaxing music, or any mild instrumental music.
10. Make your own morning mantra.
Morning mantra routine is no rocket science. It simply means that as soon as you get up, you shall remind yourself that today’s day will be good and you will achieve all the tasks that you have thought of.
You can make your own morning mantra, here are some examples:
- Today I feel empowered knowing that I get mentally stronger with each new day.
- Today I am happy to see that I am working towards my goal in life.
- Today I will say “YES” to all the things that make “ME” happy
- Today I will say “NO” to the things that I do not wish to do, or make me “UNHAPPY”
Life will always give you many things to worry about, to stress about. There are times wherein you shall get affected by these and you shall experience chaos within. But there is always a ray of hope that shines brightly waiting to be found. Go ahead and find that light of yours, your centre of calm. You shall achieve it. For once you calm your mind, your soul shall guide you to the path of light!