Uncertain times can make it difficult to find peace of mind. Be it the current state of affairs in the world, loss of a loved one, work-related stress, or a painful breakup, a restless mind is inevitable. While self-care tactics like meditation are typically helpful for stress-relief and clarity, calming an anxious mind takes a bit more work. Here are some useful techniques to help you center yourself so you can be at peace.
Let Your Thoughts Wander
The more you try to control your thoughts, the harder it is to let them go. Instead, allow them to drift away instead of pontificating on them. This will only spiral into overthinking. For example, if your mind is telling you, “I think it may rain today,” this could prompt you to start thinking about things like whether soccer practice will be canceled, how bad the traffic will be, what a pain it will be to bring in the groceries in a downpour, etc. While this can take a bit of practice, it’s a healthier way to handle your thoughts and emotions.
Living in the moment or being mindful can help you separate yourself from thoughts that don’t involve the present moment. In other words, don’t borrow trouble by trying to control something that isn’t happening in real-time. Tuning into your senses (sight, hearing, smell, and taste) can help you be more present so that you can process current thoughts while eliminating extraneous expectations.
Turn a Negative Into a Positive
Like turning a frown upside down and lemons into lemonade, make an effort to see the good side of your negative thoughts. For example, maybe you’re not in the mood to exercise — but by doing so, you’re staying mentally and physically healthy. Or, perhaps you’re mad because it’s raining outside. Take it as an opportunity to catch up on errands around the house or simply take a mental health day to implement some self-care tactics.
Destroy Mentally Destructive Beliefs
We can all be hard on ourselves from time to time, but perpetual negative thoughts that deplete your self-worth will not only occupy your brain, but also hold you back from being your best self. Similar to flipping a negative into a positive, challenge these destructive beliefs by sprinkling in some optimism. If you keep thinking that you’ll never get a promotion, tell yourself that there are things you should be doing to push you to go the extra mile so that you can achieve this goal. If you’re telling yourself you’re destined to be alone forever, destroy that thought with the reality that there’s a lot of fish in the sea and perhaps you haven’t met the right person yet.
Remember That You’re In Control
Separate your mind from your personal identity. Random and sometimes unsettling thoughts are normal, but don’t let them define who you are as a person. Just because you’re thinking heated thoughts about someone doesn’t mean you’re a mean person.
Calming a restless mind is easier said than done, so consider talking to a spiritual advisor who can help you be at peace with your thoughts.