Do you feel like your mind is always “running”? Maybe you wish there were some kind of “off” switch you could push on occasion, just to find some peace and relax.
An active mind is not always a bad thing. But it can be exhausting and overwhelming when it takes over. When that happens, and you feel you can’t control it, your active mind could even contribute to issues like anxiety or depression.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to calm an active mind and find time to relax. Let us look at a few of those effective ideas that you can start putting into practice right away.
1. Deep Breathing
You may have heard people tell you to take a deep breath during a hard or stressful situation. Maybe you have even said it to someone before. But there is more to that action than most people realize.
Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system. When that system is stimulated, it helps to reduce your experience of stress. Your heart rate and blood pressure will naturally start to come down as your body responds. It also calms down your amygdala, the part of your brain responsible for the fight-or-flight response. When your amygdala is less activated, your brain can process your emotions, so things might not seem overwhelming.
Some meaningful, deep breaths can go a long way toward calming an active or busy mind.
Meditation has been stereotyped for years, but it is also something that has been around for centuries. If you want to try meditation, you do not need to practice certain chants or rituals.
Instead, meditation is another way to focus on your breathing. Take deep, purposeful breaths with your eyes closed and focus on being in the moment. Think about how your body and surroundings feel and try to just notice any thoughts that come in—whether they are positive or negative.
Meditation can take some time to get used to, but it is a great way to train your brain on how to relax. The more you do it, the easier it is to utilize it in stressful situations. Meditation helps your brain learn how to pause and be still over time.
3. Taking a Walk
Multiple studies have shown the mental health benefits of spending time outside. Simply being in nature can reduce stress levels, boost your energy, fight fatigue, and even fight back against depression.
In addition to being outside, physical activity has similar positive mental effects. Being active can boost your serotonin levels and provide a feeling of calm and happiness. Even taking a 10-minute walk around your neighborhood or taking a break during the workday can make a big difference.
4. Positive Self-Talk
Often, people who deal with an active mind tend to also deal with a lot of negative self-talk. That can lead to excessive worrying and feelings of anxiety.
Shifting to practicing positive self-talk can make it easier to keep your thoughts calm. Negative talk tends to fuel a vicious cycle internally and can cause your thoughts to race even more.
Positive self-talk is not always easy, but it is a choice you can make for yourself. Try looking in the mirror each morning and saying three positive things about yourself out loud. Or choose three things to be grateful for.
When negative thoughts creep in, recognize them as quickly as possible, acknowledge them, and counter them with positivity. It can take time for your brain to start to recognize this new way of thinking, but it can be highly effective when practiced over time.
When you have an active mind, it is easy to feel you’re not in control. But that does not have to be the case. Keep these ideas in mind the next time it feels like your mind is racing. Not only can they help to calm your thoughts, but they will remind you that you have more control than you might think. If you want to learn more about calming an active mind, contact us for a consultation.