3 (Easy) Tips For Quieting Your Mind
Have you ever caught yourself thinking about how you need to book that vacation or finish that project at work…while you’re trying to relax?
Does your mind race from one thought to the next, with no pause?
Do not fear kind earthling! There is hope.
Here are three simple, easy tips to quiet your mind.
1. Box Breathing
This technique was developed by the military to help troops calm their minds while in a combat zone.
Try it out the next time you’re in your own internal combat zone (a very scary place indeed!), it works wonders!
Favorite quote on this subject:
“My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone.”
Try out the Box Breathing guided meditation below.
2. Observe & Label
A simple way to quiet your mind is to elevate your consciousness to the seat of the observer.
Instead of being carried away by your thoughts, see if you can witness them.
Try to focus on the rise and fall of your chest or belly as you inhale and exhale. When you notice your mind wandering, simply label the thought; “Oh, there I was planning again.” “Oh, judgment.” “Oh, worrying.”
Observe and label each thought, without any judgment.
You’ll notice that your thoughts fall into specific categories, and you probably have some types of thoughts you rethink many, many, many times a day.
Fun Fact: We have about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. But according to some research, as many as 98 percent of them are exactly the same as we had the day before!
When I observe and label my thoughts, I notice how often I’m in “planning” mode. I’ll be planning my list of things to do, thinking about how I need to do something for work or pick my daughter up at a certain time or buy that plane ticket.
My mind is constantly thinking about things I need to do, even when I’m in no position to do them!
When you notice your thoughts wandering to planning or judgment or worrying, or any other category, simply bring your attention back to the present moment by focusing on your breath or noticing the colors around you.
Light and shadow.
I find it helpful to notice light and shadow as a way to get grounded back in the present. I’ll look around the room and notice all the light and all the shadow.
Another easy way to elevate yourself to the seat of the observer or the witness is to narrate your experience. You can read more about how to do that HERE.
(side bar: I literally just burned the soup I was heating up because I got carried away writing this…the irony of not being mindful while writing about mindfulness is about as thick as my burned soup!)
One of my favorite books that teaches a simple process for quieting your mind is called Positive Intelligence, by Shirzad Chamine.
This book teaches you how to do “reps” each day to become more mindful. Check it out and start tracking your mindful moments every day to see if you can get to 100.
(this one’s great for all you mindful overachievers out there! He’s a fellow Stanford gsb grad too…which means he’s a recovering overachiever himself.)
Now that you’ve read about these three tips to quiet your mind, I’d love to hear from you!
Let us know in the comments below, what helps you quiet your mind?