We are living in stressful times. Life throws chaos at us on a regular basis – whether it’s our finances, our relationships, or our health. Anxious thoughts can overwhelm you, making it difficult to make decisions and take action to deal with whatever issue bothers you.
Because our mind is overwhelmed by the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that it creates, it makes us believe that that’s what reality is – our reality, which isn’t actually. Our mind is tricking us with its infinite capacity and velocity of constructing all kinds of thoughts.
Therefore, the ways to calm our mind and stop spinning help us see that our reality is not our thoughts, feelings, or emotions. Our mind is the most beautiful tool, capable of understanding the world with everything good and bad in it – making life a great and valuable experience on every level.
15 Ways to Quiet Your Mind
So when your mind is busy, how do you make it shut up? One could tell you to take a bath or go for a walk, but we all know that won’t exactly stop your mind from chattering at you. Instead, here are some things to try when you want to quiet your busy mind.
1. Take a Break
When you find your mind racing full-speed or spiraling down a rabbit hole, change your focus: stretch, daydream, walk around, get a snack, or chat with a friend. Take at least 5 minutes to recharge and reset.
You’ll be more centered and clear-headed. If you’re going to be working intently, set a timer or use an app to remind you to stop every 90 minutes or so.
2. Get Up and Get Going
Worrying over an issue without creating a solution will not help you solve the problem. It may, in fact, make you less likely to act by feeding your anxiety. When your mind is stuck in a loop, you can interrupt it by getting up and moving around or doing a different task or activity. When you sit back down, you should have a different perspective.
3. Repeat Peaceful Words to Yourself Throughout the Day
Pay attention to your brain at this very moment… what kinds of thoughts do you observe? Most likely, you will notice that the majority of your thoughts center around what you have to do today, or what someone said that made you angry, or even degrading thoughts about yourself.
Don’t feel bad, though; with so much negativity around us, maintaining a consistent positive mindset isn’t always easy. However, you can actually counter the negative, stress-inducing thoughts with simple, peaceful words.
Anytime you feel a bout of anxiety coming on, introduce calming words into your awareness, such as: Tranquil. Calm. Peaceful. Serenity. Light. Love. Relaxing. Breeze. Beach. The last two words in the sequence describe scenery, which you can do as well if it makes you feel peaceful. Words carry a lot of meaning and power, so use them to your advantage whenever you feel stressed out.
4. Share What’s on Your Mind
Nothing good comes from dwelling on your thoughts and keeping them locked up in your head. If you have something on your mind that you want to stop rehashing, get it out. Write it down in a journal, talk about it on Instagram stories for anyone who will listen, or talk out loud to yourself (we all do it, don’t pretend like you don’t?).
5. Get away from Your Phone
When your mind is restless, it’s easy to think that scrolling on the internet will provide an escape. There are definitely ways to make this happen if you’re intentionally following and staying on sites that make you feel calm, but most of the time the content we consume can lead to more overwhelm and overthinking. If you need to calm your mind down, take a break from your phone.
6. Breathing Practices
Breathing plays a surprisingly big role in how we feel on an emotional and mental level. By calming the flow of your breath and implementing slow, relaxed nostril breathing you can calm your feelings and thoughts.
Next time you need to calm your mind turn to your breath. To redirect the pattern of your thoughts you can mentally follow each breath by silently repeating ‘breathing in – breathing out’ with each inhalation and each exhalation.
Picturing a relaxing location, setting, or scene can help quiet your mind.
Close your eyes and imagine a place you love or have dreamed about. Put yourself there. Engage your senses like you’re actually there. See the colors and feel the sensations in your body. Take deep breaths while you enjoy this happy place in your mind.
Obviously there are physical benefits to exercise, but it can also do wonders for your mind. Getting out of your head and into your body is a helpful way to direct any scattered energy to a different place. Interval sprints or walks, weight-lifting, kickboxing, and dance all force you to focus in different ways.
Just 5 minutes of aerobic exercise, like a brisk walk, could start to calm your mind. It releases endorphins – chemicals that make you feel good and can help improve your mood, focus, and sleep.
9. Walking or Running Solo
Sometimes the chattering of the mind is happening because there are things that you really need to think through before you can let them go. When this is the case for you, try running on your own and let the thinking process takes its course.
For others walking helps. Befriend your thoughts and let them play through your mind and you may find that they think themselves through.
10. Connect with Nature, Go Outdoors
There is something incredibly calming about nature. Getting out and about in the fresh air always helps calm the mind and relax that chattering of thoughts. Your brain doesn’t have to work as hard in a greener environment.
When you get a chance just walk along the beach smelling the salty air, listening to the waves breaking on the shore and the feeling of sand between your toes. I can also go to parks and take your shoes off and walk in the grass.
Try getting out and connecting with nature, even if it is just admiring a beautiful sunset or watching storm clouds building up on the horizon, nature has an amazing way of calming the mind.
11. Declutter Your Space
Your physical environment can have a huge impact on your mental state. While it doesn’t affect some people, others feel more stressed out when the space around them is messy.
If you feel the same way, get rid of things you don’t need, organize those piles, and clean the parts of your home that you haven’t touched in who knows how long.
12. Watch Fish Swim
People with home aquariums say they feel calmer, more relaxed, and less stressed when they gaze at their fish, and science backs it up. It isn’t just the water, although that alone helps. A study using a tank hundreds of times larger found that the more types of marine life that were added, the happier people got. Heart rates and blood pressures dropped, too.
13. Live in the Here and Now
Forget about the errands you have to run tomorrow after work, or the bills you have to pay next week, or the uncertainty of your future that you haven’t even gotten to yet.
When you let thoughts like these ruminate, it can cause great dis-ease within the body, and even lead to anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and other serious problems. Most anxiety is caused by simply living in a time other than the one we have right now, so bring yourself back to the present whenever you feel your thoughts taking you elsewhere.
By allowing yourself to flow from one moment to the next, just as you did as a child, you will recapture what it means to feel true peace.
14. Listen to Music
It literally calms the activity in your brain. Fewer neurons fire in your amygdala (the part of your brain that responds to fear), which may lead to fewer signals sent to other parts of your brain.
Music is a good thing to try if you’re distracted by pain. Listen closely, not just as background. The more you notice, the less you’ll dwell on your other thoughts.
15. Witness Pure Joy
A great way to quiet the mind and live in the present is to watch kids play or observe how a dog greets its owner.
There’s usually pure joy and happiness for what’s in front of them. They’re not angry at something that happened yesterday. They’re enjoying the now.
Take a lesson and savor the moment.