The human mind is the defining tool that sets us apart from all other species. But somewhere along the way we lost our ability to use it, turning it on and off as we please. Like a wild animal it runs rampant, constantly buzzing, sorting, analyzing, and rambling.
The over-thinking mind is deeply toxic because with no space to renew, we are on autopilot all the time. The quality of our thoughts and ability to create and problem solve are mediocre at best. What could we possibly contribute to each other and the earth in this state?
By thinking less, we can be more.
Our impact will be much greater, and we will experience so much more peace and love in our lives if we can find a path toward stillness. But how can we get there?
Here are a few ways to help quiet the mind:
Put down your phone
Technology, personal devices, and social media are pulling us further and further away from what we all really want. We desire connection and love, and the funny thing is that all of these digital channels and tools that were supposedly designed to “connect” us to one another are actually doing the exact opposite.
When you leave work, unplug. De-merge your inbox with work email and put your phone on silent for your commute home. Your time at home is sacred. Treat it that way. I actually got a landline phone so that my close friends and family can reach at home in case of emergencies. Seems so archaic, right!?
Learn how to turn the switch on and off
This goes beyond the on and off switch on your phone. Start to practice the powerful art of turning your mind on and off. It is a muscle just like your body that needs to be exercised and trained. When you are at work, notice when your mind is engrossed in a task. Once you’ve noticed this, try and turn it off for a few moments. Close your eyes and take a few deep breathes, watching the analysis and dialogue happening internally. Then, slowly try to let those thoughts go. The bubble technique works well for me. When a thought comes in, place it in a happy little bubble and let it drift off. Practice this throughout the day and see how it renews your focus and ultimately builds the most powerful skill you can ever learn—the ability to turn your mind off and on and use it for your best purpose.
This one is tough. And isn’t it crazy that we actually need someone to encourage us to sit still? We are so go, go, go all the time that I bet you actually feel guilty even thinking about sitting still. The laundry, dinner, kids, husband, and pulls of life make us feel like we are being irresponsibly unproductive when we find time for stillness. Sitting still is also quite uncomfortable for most of us. When you have a tornado of thoughts and emotions coursing through your mind and body, how could it possible feel good to sit still with all of that going on? Trust me, over time it will start to feel incredible.
So, let’s start small.
After the laundry is done and the kids are fed and put to bed, take some time to just sit instead of watching TV. This could be on your couch or in a seat by a window. Grab a cup of tea and just sit. Feel the weight of your body on the surface beneath you, hear the silence around you, and enjoy the peace you feel. When your mind starts to nudge you to get up and be productive or it tells you that what you are doing is really boring, ask it gently to ssssshhhhh. This is your time.
In order to live an abundant, present life in full color we must recharge and renew. We CAN be so much more than vacant, stressed out robotic vessels in this life. Make time to do things that fill you up, not deplete you.