If you've ever dealt with nonstop mental chatter and wished for a quieter mind, you're not alone. Thanks to stressful thoughts and higher levels of anxiety than ever, most of us have a hard time getting our thoughts to slow down.
To put a stop to the endless chatter and achieve a calm mind, we recommend trying one, two, or all of these 11 tips.
11 Ways To Quiet Your Mind
1. Try binge reading
As we spend more and more time on our screens, it seems like it just keeps getting harder to concentrate. If you're a reader, you may have memories of a childhood spent curled up with a good book on a cold winter's day, without the distraction of a buzzing or pinging phone or the lure of a quick Google search.
Now, that experience probably feels next to impossible—but it doesn't have to be. Try putting your phone away for a few hours (you can do it!) and simply focusing on a book. It might be uncomfortable at first, but with time you may find yourself fully immersed in the story. And with that, you'll find that your mind is much quieter.
2. Assemble furniture
If this one has you thinking we're out of our minds, you're not entirely wrong. After all, who likes the experience of assembling IKEA furniture? At the same time, if you've ever done it, you've probably noticed that you're fully immersed in the task of that frustrating furniture assembly, which is a huge plus. When you're really focused on something, your mind can't wander. And when that happens, your mind is quiet.
3. Try mindfulness meditation
One tried and true way to quiet your mind? Meditate. While it can be an uncomfortable experience at first and many people think they're "bad" at it, trust us: There's no such thing as being bad at meditation. You can use an app like Headspace or Calm, or simply close your eyes and focus on your breath. There's no "wrong" way to meditate!
4. Breathe deeply
Like meditation, deep breathing is a great way to quiet the mind. There are many different breathing techniques out there, but you can start by taking six deep breaths, breathing slowly in and out. Try repeating this for ten minutes or so—most likely, you'll quickly notice the positive effect this experience has on your thoughts.
5. Talk to a therapist
If you find your mind constantly jumping from one topic to the next and you're unable to turn it off, try talking to a mental health professional. A licensed psychologist can help you identify patterns around this, and come up with solutions to help you quiet your mind.
6. Engage in physical activity
Physical activity is a great way to quiet the mind. Whether it's a heart-pounding run or a soothing, gentle yoga class, engaging in physical movement can help tame the monkey mind.
7. Make sure you're getting enough sleep
It's incredibly hard to focus when you're sleep-deprived, so if you're dealing with nonstop mental chatter, you're probably not going to have much luck taming it if you're tired. Believe it or not, your not-so-quiet mind could simply be the result of sleep deprivation—so make sure you're getting the recommended seven to nine hours each night!
Getting enough sleep is key.
8. Write in a gratitude journal
Gratitude grounds us, and it can also help quiet our brains. If you don't already keep a gratitude list, there's no time like the present to start. Writing down what you're grateful for in a standard gratitude journal is great, but you can also text things you're grateful for to a friend or keep a note on your phone where you write down moment of gratitude as they come to you.
9. Do a brain dump
If you just can't turn your brain off, try a brain dump. Essentially, a brain dump is the act of taking all the thoughts swirling around your brain and putting them on paper. Once they're out of your brain, you'll most likely find that you can think a lot more clearly—and that your mind is significantly quieter.
10. Eliminate distractions
There are a lot of distractions in today's world. From pinging phones and laptops to the unending allure of that new Netflix show, it can often be hard to clear your mind simply because there's so much information to access. So try putting your phone and computer in another room and turning off the TV. It's a lot easier to achieve a clear mind when there isn't anything to distract you.
11. Set aside time for your monkey mind
If you've ever heard of the exercise of "setting aside time to worry," you'll be familiar with this concept. When we set aside time to worry, it makes it easier to push worries aside as they pop up in our minds—because we know we can focus on them later. The same can be true when it comes to letting the mind wander. In fact, mediation apps like Headspace actually have a few minutes dedicated purely to letting your mind wander for this very reason.
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