How do I rest my mind?
So many of us are struggling daily with an overload of information and it comes at us from every aspect of our lives. We are told to clear your minds, be mindful, stay in the moment, rest, and take time for yourself. How do you do that? What does that mean? Each person is different, so I would like to offer a few quick ideas. Not everyone finds their restful mind the same way, and it is important to have options for you to experiment with. Some ideas take practice and other feel more natural.
- Before you start an activity you are looking forward to (running, yoga, reading, etc.) take a moment to write down all the most demanding thoughts you have on your mind in a journal or note section of your phone. Then reassure yourself that you will not forget anything, and you will be able to address important, or not so important but annoying, thoughts when you have given your mind a rest.
- Practice deep breathing, only 1-2 breaths, and remind yourself that you are human and your mind is a busy place but you need time to rest. You do this by taking a deep breath in focusing on how the air is filling your body (stomach goes out, shoulders rise and fall backward) then blow the air out very intentionally and exaggerated (picture blowing a pinwheel and you want yours to go faster than your co-workers). When you keep your mind active in a fun way, it is hard for intrusive thoughts to take over. If the thoughts appear, recognize them then picture yourself blowing them away with a cleansing breath as they dissolve in the pinwheel.
- Make your activity your peaceful place and fill it with as much positivity you can muster focused around all of your senses. You will have to practice this when you are in a peaceful place, so that it is effective when you need to rest. Find a new smell (essential oils in a diffuser, candle, air freshener, cologne, herbs from a garden), find a peaceful sound (nature, songs, instrumental, baby laughter), find a favorite food or drink that is healthy and peaceful (fruit, cheese/crackers, ice water, hot tea, hot chocolate), find something that feels good (article of clothing, fabric, blanket, hat, socks), find something you like to look at that is peaceful and does not arouse any strong emotions (comedy tv show, leaves blowing in the wind, birds/wildlife, book you want to read). Practice taking time with these things at least once a day and when your mind needs a rest you will be able to find that peace quicker by introducing at least one of the items you reset your mind to trigger as Peace/Rest. You won’t need all of them all of the time, but you will find you are able to unplug from your intrusive thoughts quicker and for longer periods of time.
I wish you all wellness and peace.
Melisa Fleming, PhD, LPC-S, LMFT