Every feel like you have so much to think about, it seems impossible to even make a start on your mental ‘to-do’ list? Or you’re constantly worrying about something and just want a break from your own brain? Maybe you’re struggling to get to sleep at night due to nagging thoughts in the back of your mind. Well in this post I’m going to share some tips with you about how to quieten your mind, in the hope that something might help you find some moments of peace and tranquility in an otherwise hectic life!
Not too long ago, I shared a post on Instagram which sparked the idea for this blog post. I shared my 3 favourite ways to switch off, which I’ll share again now, followed by a few extras I also have up my sleeve!
It’s got to be my go-to option when I’ve got a lot on my mind. Although I always advocate talking to someone when you’re dealing with anything that’s troubling you, sometimes that’s not an option, something you’re not comfortable with or it simply isn’t something that you actually need to talk through with someone, you just need a good old vent! Even if I’m trying to organise my thoughts, or plans for the day, week, or future, I find that getting it all down on paper is a seriously good technique. Don’t worry about committing to writing daily, just write as little or as much as you like, whenever you feel the need to! If you haven’t already, find a notebook that you can keep as a dedicated journal and give it a go!
Similar to journalling, but in a more structured way. Sometimes we have a lot of things we want to get done in a day, so writing a list can create space in your mind to actually think about the task in hand! Same goes for when you go shopping, and is also a great way to save money too as it stops you buying anything you don’t need! I’m a list-lover. I’m all about the lists. I sometimes even write lists about what lists I need to write… Just write a damn list okay?
There are a plethora of benefits to a healthy exercise routine. I’ve written posts before on finding what works best for you. Feeling stressed? Now’s the time to get those trainers on (or dancing shoes, goggles, whatever you require!) and get out the door! The distraction of exercise alone is a great way to give your mind a break for an hour or so. And how about trying something new? I don’t know about you, but sometimes even when I’m doing exercise I really love, like yoga or running, my mind can still wander to whatever else I’m thinking about. In that case, if I try something different, I have to really focus all my attention on it and thus automatically stop thinking about other things!
Learning how to meditate can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing, and you don’t need to spend hours sat in lotus position, up on a secluded mountain somewhere for it to take effect. Just 5 minutes a day can make all the difference. The process of learning to quiet the mind and detach yourself from thoughts can not only help you in the moment you are meditating, but throughout the day (and rest of your life!) also. Having a regular meditation practice enables you to become present in any moment, by coming back to your body and your breath, even in a stressful situation.
Sometimes all you need is a good vent to a friend over a cup of coffee, am I right?! You may be having a lot of emotions, or thoughts, that maybe don’t seem to make sense to you, or you keep thinking about over and over. Just grab a friend, tell them to maybe not take you too seriously, but you just have a few things to get off your chest, then vent away! Get everything out you need to, then notice how you feel. Your friend might even be able to help you problem solve by offering a different perspective on your situation, or if there’s nothing that actually needs fixing, then just a listening ear will have been enough – just make sure you offer to pay for the coffee maybe! If there’s something seriously bothering you, then you could even seek the listening ear of a professional, who will be able to offer you the help you need.
Distraction can be a great tool in quietening the mind. Find something creative you enjoy, or take up a new hobby such as cooking, colouring or singing. Similarly to exercise, it will provide your mind some respite as you are busy doing something else that requires your concentration, plus it gives you an outlet for any negative energy you may be holding in. After you’re done, you may find yourself feeling refreshed and ready to continue with that ‘to-do’ list, or to tackle that issue you’ve been meaning to act on.
This one’s a bit more specific, but keeping a notebook and pen by your bed can really help if you can’t get to sleep at night. Often it’s when we’re trying to switch off for the day, our brains decide to switch on and remind us that Great Aunt Agatha’s 97th birthday is in 2 weeks time and you mustn’t forget to send her a card (again). Now is the time for the bedside notebook to shine! Just grab a pen and scribble down whatever you’re thinking about, then settle back down knowing that your thoughts are safely written down ready for you to think about in the morning.
Life gets busy, ‘to-do’ lists get longer and when one stress goes away, often another will pop up. In addition to the above techniques, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough ‘me time’ and looking after yourself properly. Schedule in a bubble bath, read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf for months, take a yoga class, get a massage. Whatever it is, try and fit it in as often as you can, it’s the little things that will help keep you ticking along nicely!
So there are just a few tips you can use to help switch off that chatter in your brain for a little while! Just remember that if you constantly find yourself thinking about all the things you have to do, the only way to really solve it is to take action and stop procrastinating! Write a list and work your way through it, giving yourself enough time to take breaks and do things you enjoy too. If you’re worried about things that aren’t in your control, try learning mindfulness and breath techniques to try and relieve any anxiety you may be feeling, as well as doing some gentle exercise to release some energy (and endorphins!), and speak to someone about your troubles. A problem shared is a problem halved!
I’d love to hear about any techniques you like to use that help you switch off and relax!