4 Simple Techniques to Calm the Mind
Close your eyes.
...Where did your mind go?
It is so rare that we permit ourselves to simply sit and let our minds rest. With the modern lifestyle lending itself to sensory overload and the common practice of GO- GO-GO, overthinking has essentially become the newest epidemic. The mind’s inability to simply shut off has proven to increase one’s stress, fear and anxiety. It also inhibits sleep, affects relationships and increases the likelihood of clinical depression. All of these symptoms significantly shift one’s health and well-being. In fact, the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications has been on a constant incline since the early 2000’s. Many health care professionals may argue that this can be attributed to the pervasive nature of overthinking. This modern phenomenon means we must explore ways to stop it in its tracks so not to succumb to its numerous symptoms of overthinking.
So try these tips to turn down the dial of your brain.
Breathing can calm and relax you, allowing you to re-center and focus on the present moment. Though this seems simple, it isn’t. When your mind begins to race thinking of all the things you need to do --- OR didn’t do --- OR...OR...OR.... The human brain is hard-wired to obsessively think. Ten minutes of rhythmic breathing with your eyes closed can decrease the adrenal system’s response which will help the brain slow down. I personally benefit from applying essential oils like lavender or peppermint to my earlobes as I take the time to inhale and exhale the calming scent.
Meditating can help quiet your brain and allow you to sit in the moment, enabling you to simply observe your thoughts rather than judge them. Judgement of your personal thoughts is natural and can feed your overthinking habit. However, the continual practice of meditation over time can empower you to stop your mind in its tracks as soon as you feel it taking over. Not only can meditation improve mental health, it can also improve physical health by allowing muscles to relax and decreasing the body’s stress response.
Often times, we fall victim to sensory overload. The TV is on in the background, you are looking at Facebook, the kids are arguing in the living room, the dryer buzzer just went off, dinner is in the oven, the doorbell rings. You have to get rid of all the distractions. Breaking the pattern of overthinking and over-stimulation can be done by choosing a healthy outlet on which to focus your energy. Listening to peaceful music or distracting yourself with a hobby like crafting, wood-working, walking, playing an instrument, bird-watching, or reading are all great ways to distract yourself with a simple technique to unwind your mind.
Nature can nurture the mind, body and soul, thus being one of the easiest solutions to your overthinker tendencies. Fear, anxiety, anger and stress can all be a result of our brains never shutting off. Being outdoors has proven to heighten all of our senses to the world around which can soothe and restore our minds. Taking time each day in nature has proven to decrease blood pressure, stress, anxiety, muscle tension and so much more. On top of that, the natural world around us enhances positive thoughts and connects our minds to something greater than ME. Try making time to get outside everyday or bring nature indoors by decorating with plants and flowers, and opening the windows and doors to enjoy the fresh breeze.