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How to Curb a Busy Mind: The Ultimate Meditation Guide

It’s estimated that the average person has more than 6,000 thoughts every day.

This being an average, it means that some of us will have fewer thoughts. Some of us will have many more.

If you find that your mind is becoming overactive, it can cause a lot of stress. A busy mind can leave us unable to fully switch off or relax, which isn’t good for our health.

If this sounds like you, then read on as we look at some simple but effective ways to curb a busy mind.

What Is a Busy Mind?

A busy mind can be a mixture of thoughts, worries and anxieties, emotions, doubts, and other thought patterns.

We all have these types of thoughts on a daily basis, but when the sheer number of these thoughts begins to get too much, then you’re suffering from a busy mind. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about things, but when you start overthinking and aren’t able to control the number of thoughts you’re having, then you might want to consider ways to curb your busy mind.

How to Curb a Busy Mind

There are some simple but effective exercises you can try which can help to calm your busy mind. By incorporating these exercises into your daily life, you can begin to calm your mind and remove the stress that a busy mind can cause.

The Power of Pause

The modern world moves at a relentless pace, and it can feel like it’s not going to stop to give you a chance to catch your breath. Even if the world doesn’t pause for a second, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Take a moment to pause and focus your attention on your senses, allowing you to refresh and renew yourself without any other concerns. One of the simplest ways to do this is with a body scan.

  • Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap
  • If you can, close your eyes
  • Bring your attention to your feet and feel the sensations as they interact with the floor
  • Bring your attention to your legs and how they feel against whatever you are sitting on
  • Now bring your attention to your chest and focus on your breathing, noticing the rise and fall
  • Bring your attention to your arms and hands, noticing any sensations within them
  • Open your eyes and feel how a short pause has made you feel refreshed and renewed

If you find your busy mind starts to think about other things during this exercise, don’t allow this to cause tension within you. Just acknowledge what has happened and redirect your attention to your body.

The power of the pause doesn’t have to involve taking a long break from your day. Try to incorporate short pauses into your daily life to slow things down a little. You could take a short pause:

  • After completing your current task and before moving on to the next
  • If you are interrupted, before dealing with the interruption
  • If your phone rings or you get a message or email, take a short pause before checking your phone

By building these small pauses into your day, you break up the relentless pace of daily life and allow yourself room to breathe.

Mindful Listening

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you suddenly realize you didn’t take in a single thing they said? Sometimes our minds are racing so much we fail to give attention to the person speaking.

Mindful listening involves bringing your full attention to the conversation you are having. Follow these steps:

  • Stop whatever else you are doing and focus solely on the conversation
  • Take a breath to give yourself time to process what you hear
  • Focus only on the content of what is being said rather than how it makes you feel
  • Ask yourself if you understand what has been said and if not, ask for clarification
  • Reflect back on what you have been told to confirm your understanding

It can be harder to practice mindful listening when you’re on the phone rather than face to face. During phone calls:

  • Put down anything you are holding so you’re not tempted to fiddle
  • If it helps, close your eyes so that you’re not distracted by anything in your field of view
  • Try to sit as still as possible to remove any distracting physical sensations

Connecting With Your Senses

A busy mind usually stems from thinking or worrying about things that have happened in the past or things that will happen in the future. A simple but effective way to pause those thoughts is to focus on the present moment.

One way to do that is to connect with your senses and bring your attention to what you are feeling in the here and now. The beauty of this technique is that you don’t have to take time out to do so; you can perform this exercise whilst going about your day. For example:

  • When you’re eating, focus your attention on the sensations in your mouth and on your tongue
  • When you’re getting dressed in the morning, bring your attention to the feeling of your clothes against your skin
  • If you’re in bed at night, listen to the sounds in your room and outside
  • If you’re driving, notice the sensations of your hands on the steering wheel
  • If you’re out walking, notice the different smells around you

By bringing your attention to the present moment, you stop your brain from worrying about the past or the future, giving your busy mind a break and allowing yourself to reset and recharge.

Are You Looking to Curb a Busy Mind?

If you’re struggling to curb a busy mind and you find that these techniques aren’t sufficient to make a difference, then we’re to help.

We treat a wide range of mental health issues, from mood and anxiety disorders to trauma and personality disorders. We have the highest success rate of any comparable program based on published scientific outcome statistics. We also offer luxurious off-site housing right next door to our treatment center so that you can move seamlessly between your appointments and your accommodation.

We’re here to help; contact us today.

Can Cooking Help Your Mental Health? 9 Reasons to Try it Out

Can learning how to cook help your mental health?

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Cooking can help your mental health?” you wonder. Can you really manage your anxiety and/or depression by simply preparing your own meals? After a long day, maybe the last thing you feel like doing is putting together a meal, then having to clean up. But let’s take a closer look at cooking and how it can help your mental health.

For one thing, the process of chopping, stirring, tasting, and even cleaning can be meditative, introspective, calming, and just what you need to clear your mind. Maybe you’ve heard the zen instructive: “When you cook, just cook. When you wash dishes, just wash the dishes.”

Cooking has been described by aficionados as “therapeutic, cleansing, nourishing, centering,” and as “nothing else you will do at any other time of your day.”

Preparing a meal as a therapeutic exercise is also known as culinary therapy, therapeutic cooking, and culinary mindfulness. But at the end of the day, can cooking really help your mental health?

 

 

 

Here are nine reasons you might want to give it a try:

  1. Developing patience.

Patience may or may not be a virtue, but in a world where everyone needs to have everything right this minute, patience can instill a refreshing sense of calm in you. Think of patience as a super power, if you will. It means emotional freedom, allowing you to calmly observe, pause, and know when the ideal time to act is.

  1. Getting organizedYou might start with simple recipes, but eventually, a sense of what flavors go well together will become second nature. You will also learn another level of organization–when you start planning your meals for the week and go to the store, you’ll better know what ingredients you already have in the pantry, which will help you with the grocery budget, eating healthier, and staying organized.
  2. Helping you nurture a healthier relationship with food.

You might not have considered it, but learning how to prepare meals yourself can improve how you think about and approach food and eating. Teaching yourself how to cook not only boosts your confidence, but planning your meals in advance really gives you a victory over that feeling of not knowing what to do when it’s dinnertime.

  1. Exercising your creativity.

You may wonder what is so creative about cooking, but you’ll be surprised. Speaking of creativity, by getting your creative juices flowing, you not only refine those skills, you bolster your own mental health. Try it sometime. Drawing, singing, writing… cooking. You’ll see for yourself why creative people are happier people. As you prepare a meal, regardless of what recipe you’re using, try swapping out different ingredients, like substituting cauliflower for potatoes in this recipe for cauliflower mashed potatoes.

  1. Sparking that sense of accomplishment

Whenever you prepare a meal for yourself or someone else, you set a short-term achievable goal for yourself – then you accomplish it. This is otherwise known as behavioral activation, a method used to treat anxiety and depression by increasing a subject’s proximity to a “payoff” or reward.  Behavioral activation can also be implemented to overcome procrastination with reinforced goal-driven outcomes. You can try out whatever recipe or meal planner fits your skill level and voila! Dinner is served, and your self-esteem is boosted.

  1. Clean, healthy living.

Do you have health goals? Just start out cooking for yourself a couple of nights every week, then work your way up to more. Those who prepare their own meals tend to eat healthier than those who go out to eat more often. Keep in mind that 95 percent of your serotonin (the neurotransmitter that regulates your mood, your pain tolerance level, and your sleep) is generated in your gastrointestinal tract. Eating healthier also improves your mental health.

  1. Control over how you spend your time.

Nothing boosts your self-esteem more than feeling like you’re in control of things. Cooking for yourself will help you manage and allocate your time better, giving you a better sense of having a grip on your day rather than wandering without objectives through it.

  1. Sense of purpose.

You’re now on track to a feeling of purpose, direction, and determination, which is another way to feel more in control of your time and your day. No more wandering to the nearest fast food restaurant to get your dinner through the drive through. You know what you’re doing, and control how your meals come about.

  1. Better budget control.

Eating out less for dinner, and having leftovers ready to take to work the next day will help you keep more of a handle on your finances. It will also save you time and gas because you’ll be driving around less.

The truth is that culinary therapy is being used in treatment methodology for various mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, addiction, and eating disorders–the very process of mindfully preparing a good meal can nourish your psychological well-being.

Taking it a step further, preparing a meal with your partner can smooth communications and teamwork by setting aside differences in order to accomplish a mutual goal. It’s also a chance to work on conflict resolution skills when differences in taste and likes arise. Make it a date night!

Are you anxious about your lack of sleep? Is your lack of sleep making your depression and/or anxiety worse? Depression and anxiety are both treatable, and their treatment usually leads to a better night’s sleep. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.