Trying to quiet an overactive mind can be a Herculean task if you don't know how to go about it.
The end of the year, holidays, and the continued craziness of 2020 seem to be making it impossible for people to obtain a state of calm and sustain it for more than a few hours. (Okay, for many it’s a few minutes!)
You may or may not “know” what to do to quiet your “monkey mind.”
Your thoughts may be hijacking you into worry and anxiety.
Nevertheless, this is a worthy pursuit to try some new tools and practices.
A calm and quiet mind will lead to better and more clear thinking, decision making, and improvement in your overall quality of life.
Here are some tools and techniques to consider.
All of them can be used immediately and with on-going (daily!) practice, 2021 could be a great year for boosting your mental and physical health.
No list on mind-calming techniques would be complete without mentioning meditation. This is one of the most potent ways to quiet your mind and is used by some of the top CEOs on the planet to be more productive.
Meditation helps you to focus and gives you clarity. While there are several different ways to meditate, the goal is often the same: to prevent your mind from overthinking and being flighty and unfocused.
In a world filled with distractions, being able to focus on one thing is becoming a rare skill. Meditation will help you harness your concentration and increase your focus while reducing any mental stress you may have.
Self-reflection is easier than meditation, but it can be more painful. With self-reflection, you’ll be analyzing the way you think and act. Most importantly, you’ll ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing/thinking.
Almost always, there will be an emotional reason attached to it. It could be bad experiences from the past, childhood trauma, etc. Once you discover what is eating you deep down in your heart and soul, then you can begin the healing process.
You’ll need to learn to let go and understand that the past is just a mental construct. Whatever has happened is over and moving on will be in your best interest.
If you’re still filled with bitterness, anger, or other negative emotions, it would be a good idea to find a professional therapist to work through these issues. It will be cathartic and you’ll find inner peace, plus a quieter mind that’s not plagued by turmoil.
3. Brain dump
There’s always so much to do in our lives. Chores, deadlines, bills, commitments, etc. It never ends. Complete 2 tasks and 4 more appear as if you’ve just chopped off one of Hydra’s heads and two more have grown back.
So how is one to make sense of this never-ending chaos?
The first and most important thing to do, will be to write it all down. Write down all your tasks, thoughts, and emotions. Write down whatever you’re feeling. The goal is to take out whatever is cluttering your mind and put it down on paper. The more you write the better.
After that, make a list of the tasks/chores that need to get done. Then do them and strike them off one by one.
This brain dump approach works for two reasons; it gives you an outlet to release your pent-up stress, and it gives you clarity on exactly what needs to be done.
When everything is floating around your head, it just seems like a lot more to do and your mind never gets a break.
Practice stretching exercises throughout the day. This will help to release tension in the body. Pay special attention to your shoulder, neck, back, hip flexors, and hamstrings.
When you stretch your body, your muscles will relax. Your entire body will feel lighter and not as tight. Your mind will automatically calm down because your entire being is not as taut.
5. Mindful breathing
Mindful breathing is a technique where you pay attention to your breaths, feel the air being inhaled and exhaled within the expansion and contraction of your lungs.
You’re an observer of your breaths but you don’t interfere in the process. Breathe naturally and focus on your breathing and be aware of how your body moves.
This will help you to quiet your mind as you only focus on your breathing.
These 5 techniques are extremely effective in quieting your mind. You don’t need to use all of them. Just using one or two methods might be enough to achieve your goal of reducing mental stress and an overactive mind.
Choose one method and start on it today.
For more helpful tips on clearing your mind download our Practical Meditation & Mindfulness checklist for free, or dive into our Meditation & Mindfulness: The Basics eBook, which is the ultimate guide to achieving the best outcome for your daily practice.