Do you ever find yourself craving a moment's silence, not from the hustle and bustle of everything that is happening around you, but instead from the constant chattering of your own thoughts?
Those times when your mind seems to be racing with so many worries, responsibilities, judgments or other random thoughts, that you find yourself silently begging it to be quiet?
Having an overactive mind can be quite exhausting at times and can often leave us feeling stressed or even a little agitated. This is something we all have to deal with from time to time, and unfortunately, there is no magical ‘off switch’ that will silence the thoughts.
What we can do, however, is learn some ways in which we can turn the volume of the thoughts down a little, so that they no longer have such a big impact on how we are feeling.
Here are 5 techniques that you can use to help find peace from the chattering of your thoughts:
Don’t Forget To Breathe
Have you ever noticed that your breath is often linked to how you are feeling on an emotional level?
If you are scared or angry, your breathing often speeds up. When you are feeling anxious or sad your breathing might become more sporadic and shallow. And, in the times when you are feeling calm and relaxed (like when you are sleeping) your breathing flows slowly and deeply from your belly.
All this often happens without you being aware of it. The problem though is that how you are breathing also impacts on how you are feeling. If you start taking sporadic, shallow breaths because you are feeling anxious, then you are likely to feel even more anxious. On the flip side to this, if you consciously slow your breathing and allow it to flow from your belly, you will find that your mind starts to calm and relax as well.
This same technique can be used to calm the thoughts. If you notice your mind is racing with thoughts and you want to try and calm it, take your focus to your breathing. Try to slow and deepen your breathing, counting it slowly backwards from, say 10. (breathing in 10, breathing out 10 etc.) This is a fantastic technique to focus your thoughts and calm your mind.
‘Mindfulness’ is a term that has become increasingly popular in today’s culture. Though what exactly does it mean? You may have heard people say “Be mindful of your money!”, or “Be mindful of other people’s feelings”, yet mindfulness is much more than being frugal and considerate of others. It is an awareness technique that can not only help you gain the most out of your day to day experiences, but also help you deal with some of the stresses and strains that life might present you with.
So what does mindfulness have to do with the chattering mind you may ask? The answer is Everything!
Mindfulness is a state in which we consciously draw our attention into the present moment, becoming aware of our surroundings, our body and most importantly, our thoughts.
Have you ever noticed that you been driving along a familiar stretch of road, only to realise you cannot recall driving the last few miles because you were so deep in thought? It can be quite a disconcerting realisation!
Through practising mindfulness techniques, we learn how to step back from being so deeply involved in the millions of different thoughts, as they race through our mind, and instead witness them much like we would watch a movie. We learn to observe our thoughts, instead of being emotionally roped into each one. Because let’s face it, we all have those occasional unpleasant thoughts that seem to pop up from nowhere. It is much nicer to be able to recognise it as an unpleasant thought and move on, instead of being weighed down by it, and letting it breed other negative thoughts.
Mindfulness meditations are an excellent way of not only helping develop this awareness of thoughts but also to calm the mind and help you relax. There are many different types of mindfulness meditations available for free online, ranging from breathing meditation, sleeping meditation, walking meditations and even eating meditations! So shop around until you find one that you feels works best for you!
When your life is busy and full, and your stress levels are high, then you are bound to experience a more chaotic chattering of your mind. How do you combat this? Incorporate some relaxation into your lifestyle.
How you like to relax, or when you like to relax, comes down to personal choice. You may enjoy a warm scented bath, relaxing at the beach with a book, a walk in the sunshine, or lying down for a meditation. Or maybe you relax best when you are being active and prefer a yoga class or even a jog?
Whatever helps you de-stress and unwind, try to find some time each day just for you. Even just taking 5 minutes out, to sit and focus on calming and relaxing your breathing, will help ease the tension from both your body and your chattering thoughts!
Make A Note Of It
Another great way to calm the thoughts of your mind, when they seem to be firing all over the place, is to keep a journal in which you can jot down the more persistent thoughts as they arise. Journals don’t just have to be for writing your thoughts, you can also use them to write poetry, musings, or even sketch in. These practices all help to focus your mind and ease away some of the tension.
Walk On The Wild Side
Walking in nature is a very therapeutic and meditative activity. It is not only beneficial for keeping your body fit and healthy, it also helps ground your awareness and sooth and calm your thoughts. The type of nature walk you enjoy most is up to you. You may enjoy a leisurely stroll along the sands of a beach, exploring your local park, or enjoying the flowers in an exotic garden. Taking some time out of your busy day, to just be amongst nature, is an excellent way of calming the mind and finding some peace from your chattering thoughts.