As I sit here at my desk trying to come up with a clever way to begin this post, my mind is racing from one place to another. Do I want to be witty? Serious? Intellectual? We all have moments like this. All day, every day. Whether it's keeping up with that constant to-do list in your mind or the dreaded "what if" scenarios we love to torture ourselves with, there is a constant hum of activity going on in those beautiful skulls of ours! But what if we wanted to slow it down? What if we want to take a moment to just EXIST?
As important as it is for us to "get stuff done," it is equally important for us to take some time each day, even if it's just 5 minutes, to clear our minds and just BE in the moment with none of that other noise distracting us. Easier said than done, amiright?! Well, I can help you there! Here are some very do-able tips for quieting your mind and finding peace in your everyday life!
1) Enjoy the Outdoors - A really great way to get out of your own head is to get outside! Connecting in with the earth is a very grounding exercise that I do each and every day. Even when it's cold, snowing, raining, etc. I am sure to get outside for at least 10 minutes everyday. Leave your phone inside, or put it on silent and keep it in your pocket (in case of emergency). Even if you just sit on your patio, or in your yard, just allow yourself to be outside. Maybe take your shoes off and dig your feet into the ground to further connect with the earth. Imagine yourself growing roots through your feet and grounding into the earth and feel the chaos in your mind leaving your body through those roots. This exercise is really beautiful and only takes a few minutes. My personal favorite thing to do is take my dog for a walk. While I walk her, I breathe deeply and fill my lungs with the fresh air. As I exhale, I simply allow myself to let go of anything I don't need anymore. It's not a conscious release, I just allow my breath to be deep and cleansing. The outdoors have always been sacred to me, and always makes me feel more at ease during times of mental turmoil!
2) Move the Energy - Another way to bring peace to your mind is to get the energy moving in your body! Oftentimes, our minds are racing because we have a lot of energy built up in our bodies that's buzzing around. The only way to release it is to move it around and let it out! If you're crunched for time, take a 10 minute walk, or stretch for 10 minutes! It's just enough to get the energy moving around your body, and it's quick! Everyone has 10 minutes - you deserve to give yourself at least that each day!! I work a desk job Monday-Friday, and I can feel when the energy is building up in my hips. They start to feel tight, and I start to get antsy. And when we get antsy, that's when our minds start to race and create noise. When this happens, I'll get up from my desk and walk around the building (outside, so bringing tip #1 back into the mix). I take long strides to open up my hips, and swing my arms a little more than usual to get the blood flowing through my shoulders. This always works to quiet my mind, and also helps me to re-focus so I can work more efficiently throughout the rest of the day! Most importantly though, is to dedicate 3-5 days a week to a longer workout. This can be anything from gentle yoga to running. Whatever makes YOU feel good. Everybody is different. I used to be an avid runner, and running helped me clear my mind and I always felt better after going for a run. While I still love running, I definitely now prefer Buti® yoga or vinyasa yoga. I feel more connected spiritually, I sweat which, for me, is a physical manifestation of emotional release, and during the hour or so that I'm there, I think about NOTHING other than the class. Whatever gives you that feeling of complete mental clarity - do more of that!!
3) Flip the Script - Not only do our thoughts race throughout the day, but a lot of times we find ourselves in self deprecating thought processes. You find yourself sitting there, thinking about all of the things, qualities, relationships you wish you had. You beat yourself up over being "not smart enough," "too fat," "too skinny," whatever it is that plagues your mind. We have all been there, and once you go to those thoughts, it's sometimes hard to get yourself out. BUT - it's not impossible! When you start to find yourself thinking doubtful thoughts, flip the script! The more you practice this, the easier it will become to identify when you're going to "that place," and the quicker you will be able to turn it around. Instead of focusing on all the goals you have yet to acheive, or the things you wish you had, be PROUD of yourself for everything you have already acheived! Be GRATEFUL for everything that you already have! In each day there is always something to be thankful for. And this doesn't mean you always have to be happy and cheerful. We all have bad days. Unfortunately, we're not unicorns...we're only human and bad days are inevitable and NORMAL. But you can be thankful for your beating heart, even if that's the only thing you feel thankful for that day. One practice you could try to "flip the script" would be to journal. Each day, write down 3 good things that happened, or 3 things you're extra grateful for. That practice in itself will allow you to change your perspective, and you'll find yourself focusing more on the positives, and dwelling far less on the negatives.
I hope that these tips help you! I know that getting outside, moving my body, and changing my perspective have been incredibly helpful for me, and have enhanced my day to day life as a chronic over-thinker. You'll be amazed what messages come through for you when you aren't trying so hard to think! As Baba Ram Dass says, "the quieter you become, the more you can hear."
Take a Class!