The idea of quieting the mind seems like a foreign concept, esoteric and perhaps even the stuff of science fiction. As our society get busier and noisier and faster, so, too, do our minds. Stress levels have skyrocketed, tens of millions of people live with anxiety disorders, and more than that experience bothersome anxiety that isn’t quite diagnosable as a disorder. “Agitated” has become the new form of “calm.” Because of this, experts in the fields of psychology, mental health, wellbeing, spirituality, and common sense agree: it is more important than ever to be able to step back and quiet the mind.
It’s a conundrum. Our mind races with thoughts of stressors, worries, and fears. Racing thoughts become broken records, and we begin to focus too much on these thoughts, strengthening and perpetuating them. We overthink. For our own health and wellbeing, we need to become still, to quiet our mind. But because of our racing thoughts, becoming still seems impossible. The harder we try to quiet our mind, the busier our mind grows.
To be sure, quieting your mind is challenging. Doing it, though, brings deep peace. Imagine facing the same stressors you face now but feeling at-ease in spite of them. Imagine, too, possessing the ability to believe fully in yourself and rise above stress and anxiety. Quieting your mind brings these mental health benefits. With patience, practice, and persistence, you can quiet your mind. These five tips can help you along your journey:
5 Tips to Learn How to Quiet Your Mind
- Become physically still and comfortable. The mind and body follow each other in a dance.
- Breathe slowly and deeply. Let your mind concentrate on your inhalations and exhalations, but don’t force it. Deep breathing (and, by extension, meditation) positively changes the brain to foster stillness and calm
- Be mindful. Tune in to your senses. Pay more attention to what you see, hear, feel, and smell than your thoughts.
- Accept your thoughts rather than fighting against them. Allow negative thoughts to come and go while you do your own thing and practice mindfulness.
- Gently conjure images of positive things, such as your personal values and goals. Visualize yourself experiencing them.
For the visual among us, here are the principles in graphic form.
One of the approaches to mental health and wellbeing that promotes the above principles is acceptance and commitment therapy. With ACT, you define what’s important to you and learn how to accept what you can’t change while taking charge of creating a high-quality life. For a workbook that shows you how to quiet your mind and create your life worth living, check out Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 Steps.
Using the five steps to quiet your mind will help you, over time, create inner peace and contentment. The stressors will remain, but you won’t become trapped in them.