Some of us find it increasingly difficult to clear our mind. This can impact our stress levels, productivity, health and wellbeing. For those of us who overthink, clearing the mind can help to remove unhealthy and unwanted thoughts that may impact our happiness and effectiveness.
1. Focus on your breath
Shallow breathing or breathing from the chest is a short breath. Air is taken into the chest using the inter-coastal muscles with minimal air entering the lungs. When we breathe deeply, the abdomen and diaphragm expand, drawing the lower lobes of the lungs out and down, allowing our lungs to fill with air.
When we are stressed or overwhelmed, which can be as a result of a busy mind, we tend to take shallow breaths. This can leave us feeling short of breath and anxious. Deep breathing can help us reduce anxiety and create a feeling of calm.
2. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the art of bringing your whole attention to the moment you are experiencing. It can help you cope more effectively with difficult or painful feelings, thoughts or sensations.
Mindfulness can be practiced absolutely anywhere. For example, you could:
• Take a walk and focus on the different things you see and hear
• When eating or drinking, notice the flavours and textures of each bite
• Put music on and listen closely to all the different sounds
3. Write it down
By writing down your thoughts you can order them, take appropriate action and move on.
It can also be helpful to write down your negative thoughts. Reading them out loud to yourself can help you recognise how unhelpful and untrue they are and instead you can find a way to reframe them. Throwing out the piece of paper has also been found to help clear the mind of unhealthy thoughts.
4. Get moving
Even a short period of physical activity can help clear the mind. Going for a run or a brisk walk at lunch is great, and even better if it can be outside in natural surroundings. A yoga or Tai Chi session can also help to calm the mind and body.
Exercise helps us to separate our mind from the immediacy of the issue. Exercise will release endorphins, boost your mood, break the stress cycle and help sharpen your focus on the problem at hand.
Meditation is the best way to quiet our minds, focus our attention and help us become more ‘mindful’. It allows us to take charge of our lives and respond more thoughtfully.