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How to Calm Your Mind
When we feel overwhelmed, emotionally jarred and overloaded, we struggle to think clearly. In such situations, it is important to have some calming techniques handy to quickly diminish anxiety and put us in the right frame of mind for making good decisions. Quickly calming an anxious mind takes a little practice, but these simple calming techniques are great for minimizing the overload.
Step 1: Go to a quiet place, and let the quiet soak in
Sometimes, the best calming technique is to just remove all the noise for a few moments. Allow your mind to reset and to receive the gentleness of that quiet environment. Feel the quietness, and let it turn down the volume on other thoughts you are having. Decide that your mind must treat this place like a library and speak softly.
Step 2: Place positive language in your mind
The language you use in your thinking greatly impacts your sub-conscious mind. Meditate on words that evoke calming thoughts. Avoid negativity.
Step 3: Show calming pictures in the theater of your mind
The Wesland Institute of Arizona's neuro-linguistic practitioner program teaches that the picture in your mind largely drives your feelings at that moment. Replace stress-inducing pictures with images that sooth and uplift to diminish anxiety. Choose calm mental images from tranquil memories, or create new images as needed as part of your calming meditation.
According to Doris Helge, Ph.D., once you have the calming image in mind, you can touch your thumb and middle finger together on either hand to anchor the image. This will help you quickly get back to that image at a later time.
Step 4: Do something you love to do
Take a few minutes to enjoy something you love that you do not associate with anything but enjoyment and relaxation. Whether that is reading a novel, working on a puzzle, watching a game show, enjoying nature or doing something equally simple and calming, let the activity clear your mind of other things. This is a powerful calming technique that will allow you to return later to the issues at hand with greater detachment and clearer thinking.
Step 5: Exercise
According to Daniel Landers of Arizona State University, exercise is one of the best ways to rapidly calm an anxious mind. A 10-minute walk increases circulation and improves mental focus. Exercise is a way to physically redirect anxiety from mind to body and then release it.
The ability to quickly calm your mind, to flatten the emotions and anxiety you feel, to detach from the issues for a few moments and gain perspective, is critical for good decision-making and overall health. When your anxiety is running too high, go to a quiet environment, use positive language in your mind, meditate on positive images and anchor them for quick reference. Do something you enjoy for a while that is completely unrelated to the stressor, and prevent and redirect anxiety with physical exercise.
Writer and speaker Charles Swindoll said that it’s not life’s circumstances but rather how we respond to those circumstances that defines us. We have a daily opportunity to manage anxiety and improve our quality of life by relying on these calming techniques and meditations.