When we have a lot going on in our lives, our minds can get incredibly busy. I often find myself thinking a million miles an hour and can almost feel my head buzzing with thoughts.
Sometimes I’ll be ruminating on something that happened earlier that day, other times I’ll be thinking about my to-do list for tomorrow. Either way, I’m never in the present when I have a busy mind.
Over the years I’ve tried several things to help slow my thinking, and I find the following particularly helpful.
An easy way to help your body and mind relax is to use breathing techniques. There are two in particular I like to use:
- Alternate nostril breathing. This is helps to balance your energies, bring you back to the present and calm both the body and mind. Using your left hand, cover your right nostril with your thumb, breathe in and out through your left nostril. Then cover your left nostril with your ring finger and breath in and out of your right. This is one round, you can repeat as many times as you feel necessary.
- Humming breath. Now, I may have made up the name for this, but the premise is simple. Breath in and out through your nose, but on the out breath, make a humming sound. This injection of noise can instantly bring you to the present moment and silences inner chatter.
Write it out
If I’m continuously thinking about something I will write it down to get it out of my head. This works particularly well for to-do lists! Recently my head was full of things I needed to do the next day at work. I was getting ready for bed and knew if I didn’t get it out of my head I would be up all night, so I quickly jotted my to-do list and put it in my work bag. Knowing that I had that list down helped me sleep much better.
Any exercise is great for getting you out of your head and into your body, but I personally opt for yoga when I need to calm my thinking. Yoga is about being present and combining your breath with your movements. This helps while I’m practicing and for at least a couple of hours after (I practice after work to help me wind-down for the evening).
A meditation I’ve recently started is a form of mindfulness where I simply observe my thoughts and when one pops in, I label it ‘thought’. I then let it dissipate and wait for the next one. After a while you can learn to enjoy the space between thoughts and the hope is that they eventually slow down and reduce.