Does it feel like your mind is constantly racing?
When you close your eyes to go to bed, do you hear silence and feel calm, or are you bombarded with worries and thoughts rushing through your head like a hamster on a wheel?
“Monkey mind” is a term used to refer to that chatter of worry, fear, and doubt that we hear in our heads. Whether directed at ourselves or others, monkey mind can rob us of peace of mind, joy and happiness.
A restless mind has many negative effects that can include trouble sleeping, poor decision-making, anxiety and even depression when left to run amuck. Repetitive, ruminating thinking limits effective problem solving, and promotes procrastination, avoidance and withdrawal, only resulting in further problems.
You may have heard the expression “what you resist persists.” As long as we fight against the monkey mind, we give it more energy and make it stronger. As long as we try to beat our thoughts away, we make them bigger.
Everyone has monkey mind. It’s a part of being human, and it never goes away. So while it is impossible to banish the monkeys in your mind, you DO have the power to tame your monkey mind and keep it in order.
Here are 6 simple ways to quiet your mind:
The single most effective way to still your mind is meditation. Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention to help you feel calm and give you a clear awareness about your life. There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques that have meditation components; all share the same goal of achieving inner peace.
2. Breathe deeply
Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a very effective, yet simple method for overcoming stress and quieting your mind; one that can be done anywhere, anytime! When you take shallow breaths, it reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain cells and reduces your overall brain function. Taking deep breaths relaxes your muscles, relieves tension, and helps your brain function better.
3. Practice gratitude
Did you know that practicing gratitude causes real changes in your brain that enhance brain function and make you feel better? If you want your brain to work better, practice being grateful for the good things in your life. Writing down your grateful thoughts makes the practice that much more powerful.
4. Write it down
Try journaling or otherwise putting your thoughts on paper. This process gives those stressful thoughts a home – another place they can live besides your brain. Once those thoughts are expressed, they often no longer feel the need to wreak havoc on your brain so that you can mentally relax.
Physical exercise is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to keep your brain healthy over time? Physical exercise not only boosts blood flow and other positive nutrients to the brain – it actually stimulates “neurogenesis,” the ability of the brain to generate new brain cells – especially the cells that help the brain self-regulate and calm down!
6. Add GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid)
GABA’s natural function is to reduce the activity of the neurons to which it binds and is vital to quieting an overactive mind. Dr. Daniel Amen’s GABA Calming Support contains clinically tested GABA shown to promote relaxation by increasing calming, focused brain waves, while also calming other brain waves associated with worry. Complimenting this clinically tested and natural substance are vitamin B6, magnesium and lemon balm, an herb traditionally known for its calming effects.
When you calm your mind, you can begin to experience clarity, happiness and a sense of well-being. Practicing these simple strategies helps give you your peace of mind back.