Do you ever wish you had access to a switch that could stop unwanted thoughts?
Everybody has intrusive thoughts. The average human being has approximately 50,000 thoughts per day. If you have the kind of mind that causes you distress from worry about past events, future events, overwhelming responsibilities, unhealthy impulses, or thoughts that feel out of control, you are not alone. Most adults have lost sleep at some point due to an overactive mind.
The following can cause an overactive, distressed mind:
• Watching the news or TV shows that are fear -based. This contributes to negative thought patterns.
• Consuming processed sugar, caffeine, alcohol or stimulants. These affect cognition and stimulate brain chemicals that exacerbate an overactive mind.
• Worrying about possible scenarios that are not happening in the present moment. This causes mental tension and can lead to anxiety.
• Ruminating on unresolved past experiences. This causes the mind to disengage from problem- solving.
• Living a stressful, busy, intense lifestyle. This overstimulates your nervous system and decreases mental functioning.
• Living in an unsafe environment. This puts your mind in hyper- vigilant mode.
• Focusing on other people or things which are not in your control to fix. This distress your mind and causes agitation and irritability.
If you want to have more peace of mind it is important that you subject yourself to healthy environments and information.
Just as your body processes the food and substances you put into it, your mind processes the thoughts and external stimuli you expose it to.
The following activities help to calm an overactive mind:
• Keeping your thoughts in the present moment helps you deal with life at life’s pace, de-stressing your mind.
• Reading something positive distracts your mind from negative thinking and stimulates wellbeing.
• Creating internal dialogue that is encouraging and non-critical promotes mental health.
• Focusing on what you are grateful for in your life increases contented thinking, which leads to happiness.
• Listening to a relaxation tape with your eyes closed allows your mind to escape to a serene place, easing thoughts and calming your mood.
• Meditating increases alpha brain wave activity creating a wakeful rest state. This decelerates the body’s internal activity and calms mental activity.
• Being in an environment with all 4 natural elements balances your energy- earth helps to ground and center you- outdoor air helps to release and shift negativity- natural water cleanses and washes away impurities- Fire transforms negativity.
• Journaling your thoughts and feelings acts as an outlet to release the clutter in your mind.
• Praying for God’s help and strength to manage stressful thoughts can give your mind relief. This is an act of turning your problems over to a power greater than yourself.
If you have difficulty managing your thoughts, it is important to know you have control over which thoughts you give your attention to. The thoughts that you focus on grow that type of energy in your being, positive, negative, or neutral. Be mindful of choosing thoughts that enhance wellbeing and peace of mind.
The following are some thoughts that are helpful to focus on:
• I just have to be in this moment. I can handle all that life brings me one moment at a time.
• I trust in life’s process. I do not have to control the outcome.
• I take time to breathe in peace throughout the day.
• I focus on doing one thing at a time.
• I breathe out all negative thoughts. They are just energy.
Intentionally thinking thoughts that calm your mind will lead to a less-stressed state of being. As you pursue peace of mind each day you will begin to respond peacefully to situations that formerly invoked a stressful reaction.
There are many benefits to having a calm mind:
• Emotional control independent of surrounding circumstances
• An antidote to stress and anxiety
• More patience, tolerance and tact.
• Mental health and emotional wellbeing
• The ability to fall asleep easily and sleep soundly
• Clearer thinking and judgment
Peace of mind can be attained by anyone who takes time each day to practice mentally calming activities. There is a well of peace within you. One way to connect to this peace is through focusing on letting your body breathe all on its own, without any assistance from you. I call this ‘sleep breathing.’ This is the way your body breathes for you when you are asleep. This creates the ‘wakeful rest state’ which allows your breathing to be dominant, while your thoughts become less dominant.
Invite peace of mind to be a way of life for you and become a master at managing stress.
Written by: Elisabeth Davies, MC
Author of Good Things Emotional Healing Journal: Addiction