10 Ways To Calm Your Mind
Stress, tension, anxiety – all of these can get your mind spinning with worrying about “What If?” and prevent you from feeling rested and at peace.
Being able to calm these feelings and stop worrying will enable you to enjoy life in a new and more meaningful way.
While there are numerous ways to calm your overactive mind, you can begin with these 10:
1. Eliminate Clutter and Get Organized
When you look around your house are your counters full of things? Is there a stack, or stacks, of paper on the dining room table, taunting you because you haven’t gone through them in too long and you aren’t really sure what’s in there and if there’s something that you’re forgetting that might cause problems down the road and……? Or what about the coffee table or top of the entertainment center?
If your environment is messy it can be a distraction for your mind and cause anxiety. Take a day, or at least a few hours, and remove the clutter, organize it, and put away that which you actually use and need. Set your mind to. doing one area at a time, especially the areas you see daily.
If you need to create better and more appropriate storage (racks in the garage, bins for the attic, etc.), then do that. Done right, you can declutter once and not have it come back–that requires planning. Or Mary Poppins.
You can give away some things to your local non-profit or you can throw away the outdated and unusable things. If a day is too much, take an hour and focus on just one area – the kitchen countertops, the dining room table, the overflowing shelves in a bedroom.
Then, step back and FEEL the sense of calm as you survey your clean, organized space!
2. Turn Off the Television
Many people get in the habit of having the television on for white noise or background noise. What they don’t realize is that any information you are exposed to affects your subconscious. So, while you may say that you’re not a news junkie or that you don’t watch silly reality shows, your subconscious is fully aware of all the bad things happening in the world and the negative things people do to each other. If you must have white noise or background noise, or play music.
3. Meditate or Use Self Hypnosis
There is evidence that meditation and self hypnosis (really the same neurological states) can help you get and stay calm and ultimately help you to achieve inner peace. There are several types of meditation that range from simple walking to deep mental and spiritual practices. Many types of meditation can be practiced anywhere, with some that enable you to meditate in a few spare moments, just enough time to calm the thoughts and clear the mind. No matter what type you choose to practice, you will discover the calming benefits. And of course you have a great, local resource for self hypnosis audios and training! 🙂
4. Change What You Eat & Prioritize Your Sleep
Soda, sugar, and processed foods all contribute to increasing tension and stress in the body. Replace these foods with fruits, vegetables, water, and non-processed meats and you will quickly feel a difference in your body that will translate to reduced stress and anxiety and a calming of the mind. What you eat affects not only your weight, but the quality of your sleep and your mood and level of anxiety. Great video on that at the bottom of this post. 🙂
5. Exercise On Purpose
A healthy body leads and supports a healthy mind. Physical activity keeps the body functioning correctly, gets the blood flowing, and contributes to a healthy brain. Adding physical activity to your daily routine will help you to relax by releasing stress and tension. The activity doesn’t need to be strenuous. Yoga, Pilates, walking, bicycling and others can do just as much for the body as intense workouts at a fitness center.
6. Entertainment and Recreation
Have some fun. Play games with friends. Go see a comedy at the movies. Attend a local school’s carnival or the town festival. Laughter is great medicine and it can be free.
7. Journal Every Evening
A great way to calm the mind is to journal about your day. Writing allows you to get rid of the clutter in your mind that is causing stress and anxiety. And, with practice, you’ll begin to see how you can journal your way to solutions about issues you’ve been worrying over. You get to stop the worry and feel calmer.
Journaling positive things, gratitude, and positive thoughts and plans for the future just before you go to sleep is actually a form of self hypnosis. The mind has no choice but to process the last meaningful input that came into your mind before you go to sleep, and that processing is focused on aligning your beliefs, and eliminating old memories and feelings that held you back in the past. This is an excellent way to accelerate the achievement of your goals and program your mind to take the actions, and look for the opportunities, that will help you get there.
8. Get In Touch With Nature
Nature has a calming effect that helps you to relax. There is SO much good research on this; it really does make a difference. Go for a walk in the woods, near a lake, on the beach. If there are parks or conservatories in your area, make use of them. This will help you to relax and to let go of things you’ve been worrying over.
If you can’t get out to those places physically, there are videos on YouTube that give you those views of nature, along with calming music. You can even find “virtual hikes” so that if you’re stuck inside in the winter on your treadmill (like we all are in Minnesota in the winter!) you can have the experience of moving your body out in nature, in the comfort of your home, or gym.
Get in touch with nature, and become as calm as Bob Ross. (Skip the hairstyle tho, maybe)
9. One Thing At A Time
Multi-tasking is a myth. It’s much more stressful to stop and start tasks throughout the day than it is to simply finish a task and then move on to the next. More gets done, too. Make the decision to do only one thing at a time, to not move on to the next until the task in front of you is finished. You’ll soon feel the results of a mind that is clear and focused and calm.
This is another one that there’s plenty of research to back it up. Any good time management program will address this. But we get conditioned (another word for “hypnotized!”) into believing that multitasking is better. We THINK we will feel better about ourselves if we multitask. Begin to recognize that this is a false message.
Set aside adequate time for each task, stay on task until the work is done or the allotted time is up, then and only then switch to something else. You’ll accomplish more, your mind will have the opportunity it needs to get into flow (another article about that later) and you’ll feel calmer before, during and after your work.
10. Think Through The Anxiety
Often the anxiety we experience is a result of not understanding what is actually happening. Worrying and fretting over things we have no control over isn’t helpful, and yet we do it. We do it because we don’t take the time to think things through. Ask yourself these questions to get started on thinking it through:
What can you do about the situation?
What is your part in the problem?
Where is the evidence that this is bad?
How important is it?
Is your involvement necessary?
Are more resources needed?
Your answers will determine your next actions.
One of my favorite quotes by Carl Jung is “that which we resist persists, and expands in our consciousness.” Asking yourself these questions, or questions like these, is the opposite of resistance, and therefore reduces anxiety. Moreover, the answers to these questions are the beginnings of an action plan. And action is a known cure for an anxious mind.
Don’t Feel Overwhelmed!
Read through these again, decide on one, two or three that you can implement now, (I would prioritize numbers 3, 4 and 10 as a great place to start), and then come back to this article and add another every other week or so. Don’t think you have to make all of these work for you; they may not. Add these in this fashion and in 6 weeks you should be feeling a significant difference in the frequency and severity of anxious thoughts and feelings.