You know in school when the teacher asks a question and the kids stick their hands in the air? They start waving their arms, lifting their bums out of their seats, and calling out ‘miss! miss!’ in a desperate bid to have their opinion heard? That’s how I imagine my thoughts to be a lot of the time. Except they’re a bit more aggressive than your average 5-year old.
I have SO many thoughts charging around my head, and they’re all competing for my attention.
Don’t forget to order the food shop
What time should I leave for pilates?
What shall I have for lunch?
When will there be enough daylight to take some photos for the blog?
I think I’ll do Parkrun in the morning
I might try and come up with a new casserole recipe
I want to write a book
Remember to text Tasha back
Can’t forget to meditate later
I wonder if they’ll make a Pitch Perfect 4…
It’d be nice to see more of Denmark
What shall I call my future children?
Oh look, the cats been sick again.
And that’s how the mind is supposed to work. If you stopped having thoughts, there would be a serious problemo. But sometimes it feels like they’re out of control. As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, my brain is immediately in gear and rattling off my inner thoughts like that annoying guy on Storage Wars.
If you’re feeling the same way, do not fret. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for calming down that racing mind, and I’m here to share them with you today.
Yes, I know. WOO-WOO. But I’m telling you guys, it works. You don’t need to skip around in a circle chanting and burning sage in order to mediate. Take 10 minutes out of your day to sit quietly, or lay down with your legs against the wall if you can, and just focus on breathing in and out. Every time your mind wanders off (and it will, that curious beast), just bring your attention back to the breath. It gets easier the more you do it. You can also get guided meditations which are a great help. I use the Calm app, and it’s best damn app on my phone. I use it every day, and it’s utterly brilliant. Meditating returns your attention to the present, and it certainly helps to calm my mind. Give it a whirl and tell me it doesn’t work – I dare ya.
Write it out
I don’t know who invented notebooks, but I owe them a drink and a hefty slap on the back. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed by thoughts, I get them all down on paper. Seeing them written down helps me to a) make sense of them and b) organise them. It’s the first thing I do when I feel like my head is too busy. I usually write ‘MIND’ in the middle of the page, and then make it into a spider diagram of crazy thoughts.
Back away from the phone
You know that cupboard upstairs? Put your phone in it for a few hours, or better yet – the day. There’s enough going on in your mind without the added stimulation you get from constantly checking your phone. I made a conscious effort to check my phone less last year, and I noticed a big impact straight away. Do you sit down to watch a film and then pick up your phone to check Facebook or scroll through Instagram? Stop it, Mr. Focusing on one thing at once helps your mind to settle down and not jump from one thing to another every 10 seconds. This leads me onto my next point…
Go for a walk
I know it’s gross outside right now – it’s dark, it’s cold and it’s wet. But pull on your wellies anyway, zip up your coat, tug your hat down over your head, and go for a walk around the block. That’s all it needs to help clear your head, I promise.
Make a plan
Sometimes a lot of my thoughts are outstanding tasks or things I need to remember. I find once I’ve got it all written down, it helps to pull out two or three things that I need to prioritise. If anything on the list is a two-minute job, I do it there and then to start ticking things off. Once I’ve prioritised and ticked off the little things, I’ll have a think about when I’ll be able to fit the rest of it in. Knowing I’ve got time allocated to things makes me feel so much better.
What tips and tricks do you have for calming down a busy mind?