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How often do you stop and take time to listen to what is going on, not just on the outside but on the inside as well? You know what I mean, those internal thoughts that continually rush through your mind.
Your busy mind seems to affect your every move.
The lists of tasks to do.
Scrolling down social media for the next best.
The endless Whatsapp group messages to keep up with.
Last week many people all around the world had the chance just to stop.
This was not by choice but due to the outages that happened to Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.
For several hours, these digital ways of communicating and keeping in touch were totally shut down.
Zilch. Nada. Nothing.
The world had in some ways come to a stop.
I for one took joy in those moments.
I could almost hear the stillness around me.
Whilst others put their phones down in despair and tried to find other ways to communicate, by email, Twitter, just to fill their busy minds.
I chose to do nothing.
It is only when you actually stop and listen that you realise just how busy the mind has become.
You realise just how many random thoughts rush through it on a daily basis.
You realise just how much the mind has to deal with at any given moment.
We won’t always have social media shutting down to remind you to stop and take control of your active mind.
That is why you need to take control of your monkey mind.
Doing this will mean that you are taking control of your life.
I know it seems too simple, but your mind really is in control of your destiny.
Unless you can control your mind you cannot change the way you interact in the world.
Because wherever you go you take your mind with you.
If you want to change the way you act then you have to change the way your mind works.
So often people become dissatisfied with their lives.
They try to think of ways to make changes to it as a way to improve it.
They try to move house in order to be happier in a bigger house, in a better neighbourhood.
But they take their mind with them.
They take with them the same worries and thoughts that they had before they moved to the bigger house.
Very soon the same dissatisfaction starts to bubble up.
All of this leaves them feeling burnt out.
It makes them exhausted.
They carry these patterns into other areas of their lives as well.
Take, for example, an individual’s career or job.
When they feel dissatisfied with their current job,
They believe that looking for a new job will bring better opportunities, more income, and happiness.
Very soon the same feelings and thoughts of the busy mind start to pervade.
Very soon the dissatisfaction returns at the same level as before.
They take the mind with them wherever they go.
Let me say that again,
They Take Their Busy Minds with Them Wherever They Go.
The busy, untrained mind continues to think the same thoughts.
Very soon it starts to seek out the negatives and it is not long before you find yourself with the same feelings of unhappiness as before.
If you are suffering from this busy mind, maybe you want to know what you can do to take back control?
9 Simple Ways to Take Control of Your Busy Mind
- Be Creative
- Get Physical
- Turn Off Your Phone
- Write it Out of Your Head
- Talk It Out
- Declutter Your Space
- Watch Something That Makes You Laugh
- Listen or Read Something Inspirational
Before you scroll away and think, I’ve heard that one before.
Meditation costs nothing.
That’s why it is one of the simplest ways to start to tame the mind.
Meditation has always been a part of my daily practice but there are times when even I find myself flagging in my practice.
The results of just a few days of non-practice has a severely debilitating effect on my ever-increasing monkey mind.
We often don’t realise what a busy mind we have.
When you meditate, you are encouraged to start to learn to quieten that monkey mind.
Through meditation, you can learn to control your mind.
For anyone who lives up in their head, meditation will encourage you to sit still.
At first, the thoughts will race through your mind.
But you are encouraged to let them calm down.
Not to listen to them.
To bring the mind back to the center of still.
You can do this by counting.
Or keeping focused on a part of your body.
Headspace is one of the leading apps that has taken the world by storm.
It is simple and easy to use and is also now on Netflix.
So instead of slumping into the sofa and watching a movie, search for Headspace and try out some of the meditation techniques.
Learning to meditate even for 10 -20 minutes each day helps you to learn how to quieten the busy mind.
Or if you are out in your daily life, try to focus on something with audio.
Brendon Burchard is a well-known marketer and author of the ‘The Millionaire Messenger’, and has a great podcast series called The Charged Life.
In one of his podcasts, he talks about the Release Meditation.
Listen as Brendon Burchard explains Release Meditation Technique and how this can help you in your daily life.
Isn’t it time you tamed the monkey mind and took control of your thoughts and actions and ultimately of your own destiny?
You don’t have to be good in order to be creative, you just have to make a start.
Creativity can come in many different forms, from writing, drawing, playing a musical instrument to baking a cake.
When you are creating something, your mind will quieten and focus on the task at hand.
Start to tap into that inner child again.
What things did you like to do as a child?
As a child, I would spend hours drawing and painting.
In those moments, I heard nothing.
I thought of nothing more than what I was creating at that moment.
Don’t overlook the simple things that are around you.
Those things will help you to calm your busy mind.
Not to mention, the sense of accomplishing or making something, will leave you with inner satisfaction.
I am not talking jumps and squats and high-impact aerobics, especially if that is not your thing.
But if it is, then you would do well to hit the gym or go for a run.
Movement not only has physical benefits, but it also does wonders for your mind.
I prefer calmer more gentle exercises like Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong.
Not only are these great at keeping the mind focused, but you are also generally left with a much calmer feeling afterward.
And you do not need to be a super athlete in order to take part.
I use Lee Holden’s 30 Day Qi Gong Challenge.
It has 7-minute short video recordings, that you do every day for 30 days, and then start again each month.
Like a 30-day re-set button.
Turn Off Your Phone
You may turn to your phone at times when you are bored or restless and cannot focus.
You find yourself scrolling endlessly through the social media feeds, thinking this will make you feel better.
But it only serves to make you feel worse about yourself.
Social Media seems to heighten your own failings even more.
Everyone on there seems to have their own stuff figured out (or so it seems)
Write it Out of Your Head
You can keep this as simple as you like. Just a simple notebook or even a notepad.
It does not have to be anything fancy.
You just need a place where you can write down all the thoughts that are floating around in your head.
I like to set a timer, for 5 minutes. Then I just write whatever is up there.
Seeing it written down can be scary.
But also releasing.
Once you start, just write the next thing that comes into your head, no matter how silly it seems.
You could write a list of the things bothering you.
Or a list of the things you have always planned to do.
Slowly, you may find your mind start to calm, as the thoughts that are up there in your busy mind are finally put into order.
Talk It Out
Keeping thoughts locked in your head, churning around and around, will only serve to make them seem bigger than they might be.
It might seem like a giant obstacle to you, but when you share those thoughts and hear other people’s perspectives, maybe you will see that it does not seem so huge.
Talk to your family and friends.
Share whatever is going through your head at that moment.
If there is no one you can think of who can listen, then go to the step above, and write it out.
Writing it out is almost as good and you can write it to someone you know.
This may make it easier like talking to your best friend.
Then think what is it that you want them to say back to you.
We often know the answer we are looking for; we are just looking for validation from those around us.
Declutter Your Space
As a child, I used to do this instinctively.
My family always knew when there was something bothering me.
I would throw out my clothing from my wardrobes and start to fold and tidy all my clothes away.
This simple act seemed to calm my mind.
Just the repetitive nature of the task helped to keep the mind focused.
I usually came away with a renewed sense and ready to face whatever had been bothering me.
Also, I had a lovely neat wardrobe.
Maybe focus on an area of your home, that you have been meaning to tackle.
Don’t start too big, just try a small area first.
Usually, this is enough to propel you to keep going.
You could have a clear out of the clothes you haven’t worn since the year dot.
Getting rid of the old sometimes makes way for the new to come into our lives.
Having a calm, clear space will only have a more positive effect on your mind.
Watch Something That Makes You Laugh
We get ourselves all in a twist over the simple things.
We turn something small into this huge mammoth worry that we don’t even know how to get started to resolve.
Sometimes, watching how someone else overcomes a challenge will give you that ummph and drive to get focused again.
I love this insightful but funny TED Talk by Tim Urban.
He talks about procrastination, and how this habit really doesn’t make sense.
He knows this but he’s never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done.
He encourages us to think harder about what we’re really procrastinating on before we run out of time.
Listen or Read Something Inspirational
Gone are the days, when you wouldn’t be seen taking a book off the self-help section.
Now you would be applauded for doing so and taking control of your mind.
I like some of the old classics.
Alan Watts, a well-known philosopher, is one of those I often return to at those moments when my mind is whirling around.
In his lifetime he wrote several books, producing thought-provoking content around the subject of the mind.
More importantly, he was able to relate the mind to daily living.
If you don’t have time to get the book, then try his most well-known talk called ‘If Money is No Object.
In this talk, he tells young graduates to follow their hearts and do what they enjoy and the money will follow.
Alan Watts states that you should “allow your mind to be still and happy, instead of worrying about how you are going to make money.”
You should pursue the joy of what you enjoy doing and then others will see how much you enjoy it.
They will want to learn from you when they see you comfortable in your own skin and following your own passion.
You will then be able to use these skills to teach others and may even be able to earn a living from it.
Alan Watts has a powerful but simple theory but this theory is not one that is taught freely in schools or even in universities.
When last were you encouraged to follow the things, you enjoy?
But what good is that he asks if that means that you will be miserable for the rest of your life?
The mind is a powerful force and we often forget that we are in control of it.
This video by Alan Watts on The Mind sums up how the busy mind affects us. It is about 4 minutes long.
If you haven’t time to watch it, here’s a short transcript of the video:-
What is a mind in the grip of vicious cycles?
The mind tends to worry.
For example, if you are facing a serious operation, illness, or financial problems.
Automatically you will worry about it.
Since worry takes away your appetite and your ability to sleep, it’s not good for you.
But you find that you can’t stop worrying and therefore you get additionally worried that you are worrying.
You then get mad at yourself because you are worrying and then you worry because you are worrying and then it becomes a vicious cycle.
It becomes a struggle to allow your mind to be quiet?
It is difficult because the mind is like a monkey jumping up and down and jabbering all the time.
It seems that once you’ve learned to think you can’t stop.
An enormous number of people devote their lives to keeping their minds busy and are extremely uncomfortable with silence and being alone.
When they are alone with themselves, they have nothing to distract themselves.
They will do anything to get away from themselves.
Upon finding themselves alone, they will decide to visit a friend, go to the movies or start drinking alcohol.
Why do they want to get away from themselves so much?
What is so bad about it?
It’s because they are addicted to thoughts.
Thoughts are like a drug.
Compulsive thinking is a habit.
There is a difficulty in stopping this activity.
But you have to stop it or you will go insane.
If you talk all the time, then you will not hear what anyone has to say.
If you think all the time, then you will have nothing to think about except thoughts.
In order to have time to think you simply must stop thinking.
But how do you stop the busy mind?
Don’t try to because if you do, you will be like someone trying to make rough water smooth with a flat iron and all that will do is stir it up.
Just like a muddy pool quiets itself when left alone you have to learn to leave your mind alone and it will quiet itself.
Let me know any other tips you have, to quieten the busy mind.
Because there is another way!
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