A Quiet Mind
My mind used to be in a constant state of turmoil. I was a chronic worrier, and my anxiety was on high alert almost every day. There was no explanation for why I was like this other than I lived in a constant state of fear, stress, overwhelm and fear. My mind raced from one thought to the next over what might happen or could happen. Living inside my head was not fun.
I feel removed from this behavior now especially when I spot someone caught up in this cycle. How do I know they are struggling with a busy mind? Because they are the person pacing back and forth, chewing a pencil, scrunching their forehead, honking their horn, or acting impatiently. I can spot them because I used to be one of them.
When our minds are quiet, we can experience life in the present. We are not worrying about future events or feeling guilty about the past. We are paying attention to what is happening around us and patiently responding to the people we encounter. When our minds are quiet, we are productive, thoughtful, and kind.
There are many ways to set our busy minds free and embrace a quiet mind. Depending on what is happening around me, I choose to do one of the following to help me quiet my thoughts.
Empty your head on paper.
If my mind is busy with thoughts about all the things I have to do and everything feels urgent, I pull out my notebook and make a giant to-do list. I list every single task that is occupying space in my brain and write it down. Some things might be small, like “water the plants” while others are projects that you have procrastinated doing. Other things might be relationships that are troubling and you need to make ammends. Or you just might be worrying over something that isn’t even happening. No matter what is taking up space in your head, write it all down. It is so helpful to see what is on your mind in black and white.
Meditation helps to keep your head clear.
Another way to clear your mind is to meditate. Meditation is such a simple thing to do with a big impact on your mental health. It is a mindless activity that helps you to be more mindful. By focusing on your breathing, counting your breaths, and taking the time to relax, you are letting your mind have a mini vacation from all the stress and worry. I sit on my bench and breathe for 10 minutes to clear my head. Doing this each morning helps me to start the day with a clear head. It helps me to stay mindful and focus on the present.
Get a new perspective.
We can distract our minds by getting a different perspective on life. Volunteer at a shelter or do something kind for another person. When we stop thinking about our own life and focus on someone else’s life, we may begin to realize that our troubles could be worse. Remind yourself to think about what you appreciate in your life or start a gratitude journal. Focus on the positive aspects of your life and allow your mind to be quiet.
Let the thoughts float away!
When nothing else works for a troubling thought, I try to simply let it go. I love Winnie-the-Pooh especially the part when Piglet and Pooh are playing a game on the bridge. They drop their sticks and watch them float down the creek. When I have a lot on my mind, I envision my troubles just floating down the river like those sticks. This picture helps me to let my thoughts go. I close my eyes, make a phrase to describe my thought, and imagine it floating down the little creek. Each time the thought resurfaces, I repeat the process.
A quiet mind is priceless.
The turmoil I used to suffer in my mind kept me in a place of fear and worry. It made me scared of the world. A quiet mind helps me to feel strong, in control and confident. When I slip back into old habits and forget to take care of my mind, I do one of the activities to get back to my quiet place. It is the only place I like to be.
The image was taken by Benjamin Behre and can be found on Unsplash.