If lately you’ve been feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, you might have a sneaking suspicion that you need to take a step back and slow things down. It might feel like you have a million thoughts running rampant inside your head and really, and all you want is a moment of peace and quiet... and a little bit of calm.
Maybe you've thought about meditation. That it might help. But then you're not sure where to start or if now is the right time.
So, how do you get some of the benefits of meditation without actually doing meditation?
The answer is mindfulness and a little bit of mindfulness each day can go a long way to making you feel better. Mindfulness is the perfect antidote to incorporate into a busy or stressful day because you can do it anywhere and at anytime.
12 Mindfulness Típs To Calm and Overactive Mind
1. Focused Breathing
Taking in three big breaths through the nose and slowly exhaling through the nose is something I do often throughout the day. I find it helps me to re-centre, particularly when I’ve just been landed with something I wasnt expecting or when unwanted thoughts pop into my mind. This takes less than 1 minute to do and I always feel better after I do it.
Next time you’re feeling frazzled, unfocused and all over the place, take a moment. Find somewhere quiet and private. Sit on a chair with your feet touching the floor, or sit on the floor cross legged. Eyes closed.
Sit in stillness for 5 minutes and notice what sounds you can hear, just watching the sounds pass through your awareness. You'll be amazed at what happens when you slow down.
3. Disconnect from phone and TV
Sometimes putting down your devices is exactly what you need to relax and recharge from all that activity going on inside our brain. Put your phone on silent for while, or better yet switch it off for a few hours. It’ll still be there when you want to come back to it. As for TV, make a decision to have a few nights a week where you don’t turn it on, or you only turn between certain hours. I have tried several TV bans this last year (the most recent lasting 21 days) and it was amazing how much more productive I was in the evenings and how much better I felt.
4. Tap Into Your Senses
Bring your attention back into the present with the FIVE SENSES Technique. Notice 1 thing you can see, 1 thing you can hear, 1 thing you can touch, 1 thing you can taste and 1 thing you can smell. Tapping into the senses can be a really easy way to bring your mind back to the present and to distract it from busy thoughts. You can practice this technique many times as needed when you need it.
5. Looking in the Mirror
If your faced with something at work that gets you upset or stressed out, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom. Take your time, and look in the mirror at yourself. See who you are as a person. Connect with what you are feeling in that moment and know that whatever it is, you are a good person. Know that the feeling is temporary and that it will eventually pass.
6. Mindful Movement
Whenever something is bothering me, exercise always helps to release it. Moving releases feel good endorphins and helps to shift energy around the body. Movement that involves connecting with nature (a mindful walk), or connecting with your body (yoga) are great for helping you tune into what is happening both in your inner and outer environment.
If you’re feeling out of sorts, put on your favourite music or soundtrack and just sit and listen to it. Connect with it, the meaning behind it, the emotion, the rhythm, and why you chose it.
8. Write it Down
When stuff is bothering me, I always write it in my journal. This helps to clear my head and to work out what’s really important. It also stops me from jumping to conclusions and catastrophing about things. Even if you’re not a journaling person, just writing out your frustrations on a piece of random paper and then throwing it away will be a worthwhile purging exercise. You might be surprised.
There’s nothing like taking the time to think about what we’re grateful for to bring us into the moment. This is a daily practice of mine where every morning where I write down three things that I’m grateful for. This is a particularly helpful thing to do when you have a lot of stuff going on that is affecting you but not directly related to you. Gratitude journaling has helped me to focus on my own life, when I’ve been embroiled in managing the lives of other family members.
10. Eat an Apple
You might think this a an odd one. But try it if you’re sceptical. If you’re struggling to be in the present moment because your mind is constantly racing away, grab an apple, and just look at it for a minute. Feel it in your hands, smell it, turn it over. Take it in with all your senses. Then take a bite, and connect with how it tastes, the flavour, the texture. Chew slowly and don’t be distracted by anything else while eating your apple. Taking a moment to practice mindful eating can be a wonderful way to come back to the moment at hand and nourish your body in the process.
11. Pat an Animal
In the past when I have been in the throes of chronic stress and grief, other than my husband, my dog has been the one thing that I have been most grateful for. Dogs are present moment creatures. They don’t care about the past or the future. They are all about the now and when you are around one, you are constantly reminded to be in the present moment. There act of sitting with a dog and patting them is so calming and relaxing that there has been many a time where my stress has melted away because of those mindful moments.
12. Help Someone Else
When I have a lot on my plate, I never say no to helping someone else who needs it. Why? Because everyone has his or her own problems and oftentimes just knowing that you’re not alone in the problem department is comforting. Being of service and showing kindness and compassion to others seems to somehow diminish the size and scope of our own worries, even if only temporarily.
Calming an overactive mind with mindfulness tips is possible, and its all about knowing what you can do and what things you can have in your toolkit for those times when life gets a little unpredictable, a little messy and a little out of control. It’s my hope that in sharing some of my favourite mindfulness tips for calming a busy mind that you too can find some peace and quite amongst the chaos. No meditation required, unless you want to that is.