If you’re one of those people who has a busy mind and is always thinking, you’ll know that achieving inner peace is extremely difficult. If someone offered you a magic wand so that you could stop the constant parade of thoughts going through your mind and prevent you from worrying about anything and everything, no doubt, you would snatch their hand off. A busy mind can be exhausting and emotionally draining. This article aims to give you some tips to help you slow your thoughts down.
You may think that constantly thinking and worrying is something that most of us do all the time. It may seem perfectly normal to you that your inner voice is constantly loud and proud and making demands of you. This is not necessarily true for everyone however.
Your busy mind can easily take over your life and have a detrimental effect on how you choose to love. If you don’t give yourself calm time, with a little distance, then you are effectively blocking out the parts of your life that you should be enjoying and should be at peace with. In other words, when you think, you are filtering life’s experiences, meaning you’re not living in the now. This can never bring you true happiness.
What do you think about? If you are judging, weighing, measuring, criticising etc., do you see how you are filtering your joy? You could be enjoying the simple sights, sounds, pleasures, smells and tastes, but instead you are comparing and valuing, and this takes so much away from your pleasure.
The knock-on effect of a busy mind can be a busy life. You cannot sit still or relax. You may struggle to sleep. You suffer with anxiety and depression, stress or panic attacks. You may be overly excitable, easily angered or frustrated. You may suffer with compulsion, or you may cry a great deal.
What is the answer then? How can you tame your busy mind? The answer is to find ways of putting the joy back in your life. You can do this through finding quiet times, meditating, or going on retreats. Five minutes a day is a start – and you can build on that. Practise finding the positive in all you see, feel and experience. Learn to forgive and learn to be grateful. Express your love of things and people. Be open, generous and free-spirited.
Andy Puddicombe, a Buddhist monk and mindfulness expert who co-founded Headspace, recommends taking just ten minutes per day to calm your mind. He tells us that practicing mindfulness can help you to regain focus and clarity in your life, so find a place to relax and allow your thoughts and emotions to come and go. He says we should step back from ourselves, try to maintain a little objectivity. Another way to do this is to imagine that you are blue sky, and your thoughts are the clouds that float by. Some are black and threatening and others are white and fluffy and virtually non-existent. Watch them all float past you and disappear.
Another technique worth considering is mentally telling yourself to ‘press pause’. When you find your thoughts are spiralling out of control and whirring around in your mind, take a moment and mentally instruct yourself to press pause. Focus on something in your vicinity. This could be the sky, flowers, a tree, a pencil pot, an apple, a child, or a dog. Place value on what you see. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty there, take a deep breath and re-energise yourself. When you go back to your world, you’ll be calmer and more appreciative.
Finally, you could also try creating a ‘contemplative practice’. This can be through art – perhaps drawing, doodling, painting – or through recording words in a journal. Simply unload your thoughts whichever way is practicable to you. You could do this through yoga or gardening too. It is something you have to do consistently, every day, preferably at the same time. If you don’t set up a regular time-slot to do this, your busy mind will take over and you won’t do it.
And that is the key. Your busy mind will not be tamed unless you take it in hand and deny it its power. Promising to spend time with yourself, in quiet and contemplation, away from your gadgets and other people, honouring your own need on a daily basis, is the best way to move forward.
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