Today I will be sharing with you 12 ways to calm your mind.
It’s important to look after our mental wellbeing, particularly whilst we find ourselves spending more and more time at home. There are plenty of things that we can do to help us cope with how we may be feeling. Even if it’s just to give ourselves some much-needed relaxation and refocusing time.
There are various ways to calm the mind and the endless quantities of thoughts that keep passing through the mind. Why do you need to calm your mind at all? Most people appreciate a calm mind only when under pressure, when they are worried, or when they need to focus.
By being mindful of our triggers, we can adopt practices which bring us into a calm state of mind – resulting in you becoming a more peaceful person, not only for ourselves, but those around us.
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A calm mind is helpful in many situations
- Do you get easily nervous and irritated?
- Do you have fears and doubts that cause you to suffer?
- Do you have difficulties falling asleep at night?
- Do certain thoughts keep obsessing your mind, giving you no rest?
- Do you get agitated in every situation?
- Do you have difficulties focusing your mind?
If you experience any of the above situations, then you certainly need to learn how to calm your mind. Overthinking, restless thoughts, impatience, fears and worries cause lack of inner peace, lack of concentration and the inability to think clearly. This leads to making errors, confusion, the inability to make decisions and to failure.
If you want to achieve more in life, you must know how to calm your mind, so that you stay focused and think clearly.
12 Ways to Calm Your Mind – Ultimate Guide!
You have the power to intervene and bring our brain back to default processing. It just requires a little focus and work on our part.
Here are 12 few ways to calm your mind when life deals you a bad hand:
4×4 or Box Breathing
Ever been stressed and someone told you to take some deep breaths? It’s not bad advice, but it’s also a little vague. What constitutes a deep breath? How many is ‘some’? Why don’t I feel better yet?
A more prescriptive technique is 4×4 breathing – also known as box or square breathing.
Researchers have shown this technique not only reduces cortisol levels, but also improves sustained attention.
How to do it:
- Find a comfortable place to sit with your feet on the floor.
- Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose while slowly counting to four.
- Hold that breath for four seconds.
- Finally, let the breath out and exhale for four seconds. Repeat steps an additional three times.
5-4-3-2-1 GROUNDING TECHNIQUE
One of the most studied and preferred methods of distraction is known as the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. This method is simple and effective for helping you to regain control of your mind by grounding you into the present moment. It works by incorporating all five of your senses to keep you in your present surroundings, which is incredibly effective for fighting anxiety. The best part? It only takes one minute of your time!
Here’s how it works:
5 – SIGHT:
Take a deep breath and look around you to recognise five different things. Say each thing out loud, such as, “I see a clock,” or “I see the leaves on the tree.”
4 – FEEL:
Recognise four things you can feel the texture of. Say each thing out loud, such as, “I feel the carpet beneath my feet,” or “I feel the fabric of my shirt.” Take a few seconds to actually touch each of these textures.
3 – HEAR:
Listen for three separate and distinctive sounds around you. Say each sound out loud, such as, “I hear the birds chirping,” or “I hear the clock ticking.” Take a few seconds to really listen to each sound.
2 – SMELL:
Breathe in and out a few times and name two distinct smells you encounter. Say each smell out loud, such as, “I smell the scent of my perfume,” or “I smell the flowers blooming nearby. “If you can’t smell anything, remember the smell of your favourite scents and recall them out loud.
1 – TASTE:
If you have food in front of you, take a bite and name the taste out loud. If not, see if you can pick up on an aftertaste in your mouth. Alternatively, you can recall the taste of a favourite food. Say it out loud. Once you’re done with the last exercise here, breathe in deeply for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, and then breathe out for five seconds.
At the end of this exercise, you should be grounded in the present moment.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Back in the 1930s, a smart guy named Edmund Jacobson posed that mental calmness is directly tied to physical relaxation. His hypothesis was that if we could make our bodies relax on command, then that process may have a similar effect on our minds, too.
Turns out he was spot-on: Many studies have shown that the progressive muscle relaxation technique, which involves gradually tightening and releasing your muscles from head to toe, reduces symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
How to do it:
- Find a comfortable spot where you can sit or lie down.
- Inhale and tense the muscles in your feet and legs.
- Exhale and release your muscle tension and feel your feet and legs relax.
- Repeat this process as you work up your body, eventually reaching your neck and head.
- Imagine the stress leaving your body as you release the tension in each muscle group. Repeat as necessary.
1:1 time with nature
If you’re sitting at your desk or on your couch when an acutely stressful event occurs, it could help to head outside. Scientists have found that our environment influences our mental health, and that spending time outdoors – especially in green spaces.
It can reduce the experience of stress. Honestly, researchers aren’t even sure why this ‘ecotherapy’ happens; they just know that it does.Spending time with nature can even stop a loop of negative thoughts – sign us up.
Head outside for some fresh air. Just remember to dress appropriately for the weather, and seek out green spaces if you can.
Low – or moderate-intensity exercise
While it seems to be general knowledge that exercise improves our mental well-being, it’s often not second nature to immediately start exercising when you need to calm your mind. And we don’t mean heading out for a quick sprint or taking out your aggression in the weight room. Those high-intensity exercises can increase cortisol. The effect is temporary, but may not be a good idea when you’re already experiencing high levels.
What is beneficial during these times is a 15-20 minute walk, or similar light aerobic exercise, to clear your mind. Researchers have found that walking can quickly reduce acute stress and blood pressure. Lace up your shoes and go for a walk. Ideally outside for the added benefits of vitamin D from the sun, but inside works, too. Don’t set a timer, but just walk at a pace that is comfortable for you and keep going until you’re feeling a bit better and your head is clearer. Try to bring your focus back to your breath when your mind wanders, or take in the scenes around you as you stroll.
MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS
One of the best ways to remain present and calm the mind is by practicing Mindfulness. This teaching is all about taking in the moment fully and being truly aware of yourself. This includes your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and what’s happening around you.
Meditation and mindfulness tend to go hand in hand. However, mindfulness is more like a subsection of meditation. With mindfulness, the purpose is to stay fully engaged with what you’re doing (even if you’re simply folding laundry!).
Meditation, on the other hand, is a formal practice where you’re in a seated position and focusing on your internal world. Both practices are crucial to know when it comes to remaining present.
MEDITATION BODY SCAN
We will try another breathing exercise. Again, if you’re driving, skip this one. You’re going to need a few minutes. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Now, imagine that the sun is shining, as you’re laying at a place where you feel safe: the beach, your favourite spot at the park, or simply looking through the window curled up in your favourite blanket.
Notice the warm sunlight going through your body, starting at the top of your head. Then, moving down to your neck, your chest, your hands, your belly area, your legs, up until it reaches your feet.
Breathe slowly and deeply. Now, you can go back to your normal pace of breathing. Open your eyes when you’re ready and move your hands and legs gently.
Breathing techniques are a common strategy for fighting anxiety and calming the mind. In fact, one of the first techniques my counsellor taught me during therapy was a breathing exercise. When your breath is shallow and you’re not breathing properly, this often times makes anxiety worse.
The goal here is to really slow your breathing down so that your physical symptoms start to go away. For the 4-7-8 method, first sit in a comfy position and relax your muscles. Take a big deep breath in through your nose for four seconds.
Hold it for seven seconds. Next take an even bigger breath out for eight seconds. As you’re breathing out, part your lips and make a “woosh sound.” If you want a visual guide for the technique, I recommend watching this video! I love that the background sound is waves crashing against the shore.
PRACTICE DEEP BREATHING
When you feel your mind racing, sit or lay in a comfortable position. Breathe in for four long counts. Breathe out for 5 long counts. Continue this deep breathing for a few rounds.
If you would like to take this exercise further, you can close your eyes and visualise roots growing from the bottom of your feet or tailbone and going deep into the earth. If you struggle with quieting your mind during deep breathing, try adding a mantra to the practice like “I am safe. I am grounded. I am loved.” Otherwise, simply acknowledge the thoughts that come to mind and release them as you exhale.
Breathing is really one of the best ways to slow our nervous system down. This technique will help you face the day with a clear mind and also help you fall asleep at night.
Shifting your energies in a positive direction starts with gratitude. A great way to calm your mind and feel as though you have a better sense of control over your brain is to focus on gratitude. Make a list of five good things that happened to you at the end of every day or before going to bed. Reflect on that and enjoy the feeling you experience.
Smile in front of the mirror after waking up and going to bed too. The act of smiling reinforces how you feel about yourself and the days. Chances are, if you take the time to really stop and think about all that you have to be grateful in your life, it will help calm your mind.
You will start to see things in perspective and put those things that are causing your mind to race to stop seeming all that bad.
Journal your thoughts and emotions on paper. Even if you’ve had a boring day and nothing interesting, write it down. If you feel as though your mind is constantly racing and all over the place, then it can really help to get those chaotic thoughts out of your mind and to put them somewhere else completely.
The simple act of writing down will have a therapeutic effect on your mind, triggering the relaxation response in your body and calm you. The best way to do this? Keep a journal. When you journal, don’t worry about grammar, tone or style – just get those confusing and overwhelming thoughts out of your mind and on to paper. It can really help bring about clarity.
Listen to calm music
Studies have shown that listening to calming music can lead to decreased heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. It can even help reduce momentary anxiety or stress.
So, tune that Pandora station to ‘relaxation radio’ to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and calm your body.
12 Ways to Calm your Mind – Final thoughts
If you are looking for a way to finally bring some ease to your mind, then give these options a try. They can help you get the peace of mind that you have been searching for and help you find that balance that you seek in your everyday life.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years! If you have any questions please reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about subjects such as spiritual growth, self-discovery, expanding your awareness, inner peace, self-care and mental health. Please connect with me on my journey and join the community!