At times we can become overwhelmed by an incredible number of thoughts, ideas and conflicts going on in our minds.>
Should I do this? Should I do that? How will I do this if this person hasn’t done that? I don’t have time, I’m not good enough, I’m so stressed!!!
How do you take a step back and make it all stop?
Our minds are amazing things. Studies have shown that we have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, or between 35 and 48 thoughts per minute. When a majority of these thoughts are negative, many of us can find ourselves feeling trapped in an unhealthy frame of mind.
You may recall a time when you were swimming laps, gliding through the water, gasping for your next breath and feeling your leg muscles working to kick you forward. When you next checked the clock you noticed that way more time had passed than what you thought. This is because you were lost in the moment and completely present in what you were doing. You don’t have to be into swimming for this to happen; other forms of exercise and activity like dancing, surfing, or playing team sports can all distract you from overthinking and worrying and help you to see the world with a clearer head.
You may have some people in your life who make you feel calm and collected when you’re around them. Spend more time with these people! If you hang around with people who are also in an unclear mental space, you will find that you’re both adding to a big pile of complicated and negative thoughts. Hang out with someone who is in a great place in their lives and instead of getting jealous, try to soak up some their positivity!
Try and roll out on the right side of the bed. If you wake up and notice negative thoughts or you haven’t slept well due to a busy mind, try these techniques to let them go before you begin the day ahead:
If you start feeling a little bit of cabin fever, have a shower, get dressed and just get outdoors. Breathe in the fresh air, go for a walk, or read the paper at a cafe; sometimes just leaving the house can do you good. If you are up for it, spend a day or a weekend in nature. The Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 2007 found that “students sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of cortisol — a hormone often used as a marker for stress — than those who spent that time in the city.”
Get stuck into a task that you love, whether that be drawing, painting or creating something with your hands like woodwork, pottery or shaping a surf board. Put on some of your favourite music to suit your mood and work through a bit of art therapy. Gardening and tending to plants can be a lovely tool to take your mind off things too, or simply tidying up and having a good old sort out.
We hear about mindfulness time and time again, but what does it really mean and how do we best incorporate it into our lives? There are alternatives to meditation that help us relax and slow our constant thoughts and worries. THese include doing something repetitive with our hands, adult colouring in books, and gentle moving mediations like Yoga or Tai Chi. Or, just take a slow walk where you take in everything around you and literally stop to smell the flowers.
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