Even if we make time to do relaxing things, even if we take care of our body, even if we clear our agenda’s, even if we own less, we can still have a mind that is racing all the time. And that is very exhausting! So, let’s find out how we can quiet our mind so that we can fully appreciate our simplified home, our simplified agenda, our fit body.
We all know that little voice in our head, we’ve all been in that endless circle of worrying, of thinking the worst, and we just can’t seem to stop it.
First of all, understanding what that little voice represents, will be a huge step towards quieting the mind.
As I’ve said in previous articles*, our mind has 2 parts: a conscious and a subconscious part. Only 7% of all our actions are initiated by our conscious mind. So, 93% is initiated by our subconscious mind aka our ego, our Protective Self, our little voice in our head. As the name Protective Self already implies, it is there to protect us. But, as we’ve evolved to the human beings we are right now, we do not need protecting from all that is unknown anymore, the world is no longer a place where all that is unknown, has to be considered a threat and therefor has to be avoided. We can now live and decide to embrace the world and be curious instead of suspicious. We can now decide for ourselves how we look upon the world and not let ourselves be led by what used to be necessary, by our fears, by what other people think is good for us.
So, now that we know why there is that little voice inside our head, we still have to find a way to make it be quiet for a while, to have some peace of mind.
You can do the following as an ‘emergency break’ whenever you feel your thoughts are taking over and you feel you’re freaking out.
First of all, you need to decide you want to stop that train of thoughts as it’s not helping you, on the contrary, it is blocking your ability to think clearly.
“As long as you keep stirring the puddle, the water will remain muddy. Once you stop stirring, the mud settles down and the water becomes clear.” Lao Tzu
You can start by taking some deep belly breaths, breathing in and out will calm your body.
Now that your body is calmer, your mind has become a little quieter too. Because you’ve been focusing on your breath, you’ve stopped giving attention to your thoughts and they’ve become less invasive. “Where focus goes, energy flows.” Tony Robbins. And what you do not focus upon, will lose power.
These moments of coming to a halt, are already very beneficial. If you want to live a calmer life, a life in which you can clearly see that thoughts and emotions are trying to take over, and if you want to learn how to let them pass, I highly recommend starting meditation.
Meditation is a way of finding a place where everything calms down, is a way of going to your sanctuary, a place where you are at peace with yourself and all that is happening around you.
The more you practice it, the easier it becomes to find that place, the sooner you can quiet your mind and see clearly again. Your brain will start functioning differently. The more you practice, the more there will be new connections in your brain. These new connections will keep you from immediately going into a frenzy whenever a disturbing thought enters your mind. These new connections make it possible to notice a thought coming in, realizing it is only a thought and that YOU can decide what to do with it. I’ve learned a beautiful visualization from Serena Dyer Pisoni** to manage incoming thoughts. Imagine yourself sitting in a train. The train is leaving the station and you look outside the window. You see people on the platform but the train is moving away and so you see them for a moment and then you’ve moved away and you can’t see them anymore. That’s exactly what you can do with your thoughts. Look upon them as the people on the platform. You’ve seen them but you let them be and you move on.
The more you practice meditation, the better you will be able to focus as you’ve removed all the clutter in your mind. You’ve created space and therefor you’re able to fully put your mind to the things you want to. It also improves your memory as you make room, you declutter your mind from useless stuff.
Meditation helps you to worry less. As again you will be able to recognize your thoughts, your worries for what they are. You now know you can choose what to do with your thoughts. You can actively decide they are not helping you. You are now able to let them go. I know it’s not easy, but the more you try it, the better you’ll get at it. Feeling the result of a quiet mind will undoubtedly motivate you to keep practicing.
Having taken several moments throughout the day to quiet down your mind, to let the dust settle, will also have its effect when you want to go to sleep at night. As your mind has not taken over your entire day, as you’ve not let yourself be ruled by anxiety, worry, fear or anger, you’ll feel a lot more relaxed in the evening and you’ll be able to have a very restful sleep.
Nothing but benefits!
You can learn how to meditate, it’s a practice. There are various apps*** who can teach you, there are a lot of teachers**** who can help you learn this practice. I invite you all to give it a try. Be patient as it is something you need to grow into, especially when you are so used to living ‘in your head’, when you’ve been prisoner of your thoughts for so long.
Knowing you can choose your thoughts, can be a real eye opener for a lot of us. Me included! There was a time I didn’t know you could turn your thoughts around, and live a more peaceful life just by learning how to manage your thoughts. But once you know how to do it, it’s an absolute wonderful present you are giving yourself! As every feeling is preceded by a thought, managing your thoughts also means you are managing your feelings. Whenever you feel angry, sad, …know that by thinking different thoughts, you will start feeling differently! Looking from a different angle, will make you feel differently too. You are not ignoring nor suppressing your feelings, no, you just think about it in another way and it will make things clearer.
I wish you all a lot of curiosity to find out for yourself, a lot of joy learning and a very peaceful mind as a result!
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*’The Trouble Is, It’s All Up to You, The Good Thing Is, It’s All Up to You’, Medium article by Katrien Degraeve
**The Knowing, Saje Dyer and Serena Dyer Pisoni.
***Insight Timer, Headspace, 1 giant mind, … and many more.
****Bruno Lallement, Marc and Angel Chernoff, Dr Sue Morter, Anita Moorjani, Gabby Bernstein, … and many more.