How to Quiet Your Mind: 4 Techniques to Slow Down a Racing Brain
In a world constantly pulling your attention in a dozen different directions, it’s difficult to know how to quiet your mind. We’re always accessible via text, making it almost impossible to truly get a moment alone. We feel the need to scroll every second we have downtime.
So how do we actively try to detox a busy mind?
Here are some methods to use so you can learn how to quiet your mind when the world seems overwhelming.
Why It’s Important to Learn How to Quiet Your Mind
Ever remember whining, “I’m bored,” to your parent as a kid? Being bored was the worst thing that could happen. Even if something went wrong, at least something was happening.
According to a whole host of scientific studies, this boredom is an important part of our development. Dr. Vanessa Lapointe says, “Children need to sit in their own boredom for the world to become quiet enough that they can hear themselves.”
This statement holds just as true for adults.
We constantly fill our days with stuff: even if that stuff is just scrolling through Instagram. It’s almost as if we’re scared to be alone with our thoughts.
And while it can feel painful at first to sit alone with ourselves, it’s a practice that breeds creativity and self-awareness.
We should feel comfortable being alone with ourselves. And we should know who we truly are outside of our relationships with other people. When you practice mindfulness and actively make space to be with yourself in the present moment, you’ll make important discoveries about who you are. It’s vital that you know and like the person you’re becoming.
So here are some tips on how to quiet your mind and get to know yourself.
1. Find a Creative Outlet
To quiet your mind, try focusing on a task that challenges your brain in a different way. Art is well known as an excellent outlet for those that struggle with busy minds.
There’s no shortage of artistic mediums to try. Abstract painting can give you an outlet with little rules, while knitting requires structure and planning. Playing a musical instrument gets your brain to learn new patterns and lets you experiment with creating your own melodies.
Each of these activities has a different blend of structure versus expression. It’s up to you to decide what blend works best for you.
If you try drawing and hate it, don’t give up on art altogether. It might take a bit of experimentation to find one medium that works for you.
2. Spend Time in Nature
There’s a reason why so many people turn on rain sounds when they want to relax. Being in nature is a calming experience. It gives us perspective. Your problems seem small when compared to the beauty of a towering mountain.
Gentle to rigorous exercise in nature can help keep your mental health and heart rate in check. Going on hikes or nature walks can help get your blood flowing and quiet racing thoughts. Doing yoga in your backyard can help encourage muscle relaxation. And who doesn’t want to be in the lotus position next to a garden of flowers?
But you don’t need to exercise to get the benefits of nature. Just spending time out in the fresh air can help you feel more relaxed.
When looking for techniques to quiet a busy mind, make sure to check out mindfulness meditations.
There are so many different techniques to try – from deep breathing methods to guided meditations to yoga nidra – that you’re sure to find something that works for you. And each type can help with different problems. Some help if you have trouble falling asleep, others focus on helping you feel calmer during a panic attack.
Meditation takes a lot of trial and error. You need to find recordings that you like, and it takes an awful lot of practice to learn how to quiet your thoughts during the meditations. If you deal with intrusive thoughts while meditating, don’t give up. Just take a deep breath and re-enter the exercise with a new focus.
If you struggle with how to quiet your mind because you feel like you always need to be doing something, journaling could work for you. It’s both tactile and thoughtful. You can follow journaling prompts or simply write down every thought that goes through your head.
Even writing out to-do lists could help alleviate some anxieties. Close your eyes, think of everything that’s overwhelming you, and write it down. Once you see it on paper, you’ll be able to structure a plan on how to conquer it all.
Finding How to Quiet Your Mind
Not all relaxation methods work for everyone. That’s why it’s important to experiment to find which methods work best for you. The most important part is finding something that keeps your mind occupied so you can focus on something other than your day-to-day anxieties. Whether your thing is listening to music or riding horseback, figuring out how to quiet your mind will help relax your body and improve your mental health.
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.