With all the mumbo jumbo stuff in our daily lives, it is not surprising how difficult it can be to quiet your mind from the daily information and stress overflow. I know I am a “thinker,” and would even go so far as to admit I tend to dwell on stuff that should really just be dumped from the memory bank. Sometimes that is easier said than done. Here are some tips I have found that work for me.
Recognize the clutter
Whether you come home from work and you can’t seem to stop thinking about your job, or if you find yourself replaying an argument with a spouse, you should try to identify the clutter in your mind. Once you can recognize what thoughts are bogging you down, you can address how to clear your head.
Be the boss of your thoughts
If your thoughts are bullying you, it is time to turn the tables around. First you have to come to terms with the fact that you are responsible for your own thoughts. You do have control of what you allow into your mind. Let us take work for example. If you find yourself coming home every day from work and seem to be unable to stop thinking about the job…it is not that you are unable, but that you are unwilling or simply do not know how. So empower yourself in knowing you are in control.
Gain some focus
Even if you have a gazillion things on the brain all at once, you can shut it all off, at least long enough to regain some peace. Try these ideas:
–Take a shower, or a nice warm bath. This is undoubtedly is a great sense of relaxation for most of us. When you are in the shower imagine all the clutter in your mind going down the drain.
–Find a quiet place even if that place happens to be in the bath tub, your favorite recliner or chair. Sit quietly and breathe. When the intrusive thoughts start to sneak in, say no and consciously focus on the sound of your breath. Concentrating on your breath is a way to force yourself to dismiss the thoughts away that you do not want to think about. Sometimes focusing on an object helps as well. I have heard of people using the flame of a candle which would definitely be very relaxing. However, because I do not always have a candle when I need to control my thoughts, I use my index finger to focus on (I know it sounds silly, but since it is always with me I can focus on it immediately to help ward away a thought).
–Relax yet be alert and in the driver’s seat. Sleeping is wonderful, but staying alert and in control is what you are looking for right now. Continue to breathe and consciously relax your shoulders. Again, as thoughts come in, say no…and continue to focus on your breath.
Continue to do this until you feel you are in charge of your thoughts and begin to feel some peace. Try to stay in this relaxation mode for a good 20-30 minutes if you can.
Organizing the clutter
So, once you have been able to wind down and get your mind subdued, consciously decide what to do with your thoughts. Take work again. You decide how much of your home time (if any) you are willing to give to your work thoughts. Maybe you tell your mind you can think about work on the drive home, but once you take the keys out of the ignition, the work thoughts have to go. So if they creep in, you immediately say no, and concentrate on your breathing for distraction. Use this same plan for all thoughts are trying to control.
Now, I have to tell you this exercise does work for me. However, in the beginning it may take a bit more work in repeated conscious breathing, saying no (a lot), and focusing on your finger or other object. It takes practice to get your thoughts in line, especially if they have been running the show for a while. Just remember, you are the one in control.