It's the nature and the function of our mind to think. But sometimes it can stop us from sleeping at night or from feeling joyful, calm or however we want to feel.
It can feel like our thoughts are owning us and not the other way around.
Ever had that happen?
It's important to not judge our mind, as it's simply fulfilling its function. But we must remember that we are the master of our mind, not the other way around. We are more than our mind alone - we are aware of what's going on in our conscious mind.
When we find this over-eager attitude of the mind (never stopping, thoughts racing) getting in the way of our well-being, it's on us to TRAIN our mind to think well, in a more constructive way. And as most things that we want to master, this requires a little bit of focused practice.
I have quite an active mind myself which most of the time I value - it consistently comes up with ideas and I enjoy thinking deeply. But for times it gets in the way, I've found some very useful tools to cope (in no particular order):
ꕥ Morning pages
This is a tool by acclaimed creativity teacher and author Julia Cameron where you write 3 pages longhand first thing in the morning, before you begin your daily activities. This helps you to wipe the slate clean very first thing, so you can carry on your day with a clearer mind. It helps with creativity too.
There are numerous benefits to meditation, including reducing stress and anxiety, better emotional well-being, longer attention span, and even physical health benefits. The most important is the frequency, or regularity, of your meditation, how long each one is is less important. Commit to a regular practice, if starting from scratch perhaps once or twice a week for 5 minutes, and observe the benefits. Over time, I'd recommend you make it more frequent.
When I first learned meditation about 17 years ago, I went all-in with 20 minutes twice a day, every day, for several months, which felt the most amazing. I just got back into this a few months ago, but know that this rhythm isn't mandatory for everyone to reap the benefits of meditation. Start small, but do start, and keep going. Your future self with an unruffled mind will thank you.
ꕥ Physical Exercise
This is a great way to get out of your mind, as you literally get your attention into the body. It also releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals in our body) that can shift your racing thoughts almost instantly. You can do anything from walking, stretching or a more vigorous exercise like running, dancing or a class at the gym. Try moving your body next time you can't get your mind to stop moving (and producing unwanted scenarios) and see how you feel afterwards. I find anywhere from 15 or 20 minutes to be effective.
Our bodies are powerful sources of well-being, so remember to use yours.
Fun story - one day I felt really dull and emotionally heavy, and I instinctively started to spin around in the room I was in. I started slowly, eased into it, let go, and got faster and faster....the weight and dullness lifted from me like a veil in a matter of minutes! I felt more clear and light again. Try it, it works.
ꕥ Journaling (not necessarily in the morning).
I like to call this 'venting on the page'. Writing your thoughts down, stream of consciousness or with a specific writing prompt. This helps calm the racing mind because instead of flipping thoughts around in your head, you write them down, put them onto the page (or onto a screen) and this feels incredibly liberating. They're then "out" of your head. Writing also helps us think things through better, put things into perspective, and that alone can settle the mind.
ꕥ NLP tools (especially inducing calm/focused/centred states of mind)
Neuro-linguistic programming is all about being more aware of what is going on inside us (our thoughts and emotions), noticing our patterns of experience and then changing them so they serve us rather than stop us from living the way we want to live. We always have a choice in how we think and feel, often as simply as applying our focus in more constructive ways.
I love using NLP with my clients and on myself, because it's so much fun and so effective.
ꕥ Mindfulness practice
In simple terms, mindfulness means focusing your senses on the present moment in a non-judging way. There are different ways to practice mindfulness but an easy one is to notice your body, bringing your attention to one (or more) parts of your body, and just rest your attention there without thinking or judgement. You can also be mindful of your surroundings, again bringing all your senses to it, being really present and non-judgemental (not thinking about it, just being with it). You can practice mindfulness as part of a ritual or as a mindfulness meditation.
I hope these tools help you in settling your occasionally overthinking mind. I love talking about the ways that help us live a more conscious, joyful life, so do reach out if you have a question.
If you want my support in gaining better control of you mind and thoughts, schedule a call with me and let's see how I could help.