Our minds are stuffed with flowing work schedules, school sports and we have a penchant for being adhered to our Smartphones. The roots run deeper than most of us realize or what we’re willing to admit. Dr. Gina Manguno-Mire, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University Health Sciences Center, stated that being busy starts when we are quite young. “Today, we see both kids and adults who are so structured that they just don’t seem to know what to do with free time, so they fill it with activities.” The repercussions of being too busy can create acute stress, becoming a people pleaser and the inevitable destruction of our health. Additionally, an overworked mind can lead to burnout, which impacts much of the workforce according to a ComPsych survey. They found 62 percent of those polled, exhibited tension, exhaustion, loss of sleep and isolation from busyness. Calming the mind is not a towering goal. In fact, it can be started today. The only thing that is required is making the effort to cut off the internal and external commotion. Learn how to hush the mind with the following recommendations.
Being able to center yourself is a skill that anyone can learn, once they have the intention and of course, by slowing down. Science has studied the effect on the brain from meditation and they found it increases brain matter along with reducing stress. Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” said senior author Sara Lazar. People also experienced a greater reduction in anxiety. To get started, find a place where there is no noise and where there won’t be any interruptions. Sit in an upright position in a comfortable chair. Pay attention to how the air passes in and out of your nose. Focus on how the abdomen expands and collapses with each breath. When the mind starts to wonder, bring it immediately back. Repeat this again or as necessary.
Eliminate the clutter in the environment. Clutter breeds a busy and a wandering mind. If the surrounding areas are a mess, a person can’t focus and it’s super stressful. If the ordinary American spends an estimated 30 minutes a day looking for lost objects like keys, it causes stress. When we are stressed, the body releases the stress hormone cortisol and corticotrophin. This weakens the immune system and causes more colds and other illnesses. Plus, decluttering helps to remove blockages from the mind and will reduce chaos. This will also bring more comfort and help thin out the confusion. The average room contains over 1,000 visible objects, this just overloads the brain, so get organized for the sake of personal sanity.
Unplug the electronics.
Smartphones are great, but they keep you overly connected even when it’s time to rest after a long day. The 24/7 availability is hurting Americans. “Two-Thirds of people surveyed say they agree that taking an occasional digital detox is good for their mental health. However, less than 30 percent say they actually do so,” TIME reported. The perpetually-on and always-connected era are keeping the mind running at full-steam. How many times does the phone interrupt our quiet time? Make it a point to take a break and unplug the cell phone. Put the electronics down for a night and make it a habit.
Curtail negative thoughts.
We can’t really stop ourselves from having negative thoughts, but we can start filtering them much better. Stop the negative self-talks and believing that things won’t get better or that in someway failure will always be on the horizon. Don’t engage in negative thoughts as it is a battle that will fatigue the mind. When we think upon a happy memory, it’s a way to outwit the mind. Spend a few minutes remembering happier moments for a distraction. Declare: “Negative thoughts will not dictate my happiness.” Nothing undermines the mind like internal self-judgments and serving cynical chatter.
Reflect on gratitude.
Many times our eyes wander and we compare ourselves to what others have or what they may be doing. When we start going down this road, we get all tied up and feel sorry for ourselves. Pull back and take the high road by being thankful. The University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine did a study on the impact that gratitude plays in people’s lives. “When I am more grateful, I feel more connected with myself and with my environment. That’s the opposite of what stress does,” author of the study Paul J. Mills told today.com. He also suggested starting a gratitude journal to use during a difficult time or when hope is needed.
Keep a journal.
Writing down what needs to be done will help prevent nervousness and it gives way to mental clarity. When there are all kinds of thoughts popping into your head, jot it down to avoid being distracted in a web of ideas. This will create an outlet that will increase productivity and it will hush loud thoughts begging for attention.
There’s no doubt we are a busy nation and a busy people. There are always repercussions to anything extreme and continuing at a frenzied pace drains mental reserves and it plays havoc on the body. Create a list of suggestions to help slow down, and see what really works. Everybody is different and what works for one might not work for another.