We all have voices in our heads. You can hear it, asking questions, rambling on, telling you to do this, or go there. Inside your head, it might sound like this, “I should take the dog for a walk,” “but it might rain,” “but it might not,” “maybe if I went for a quick one.” It’s normal to have mind chatter, but when it keeps going at all hours of the night and keeps you from sleeping, it’s time to quiet it down. The question is, how do you quiet persistent mind chatter so you can finally relax? These are some helpful tips to quiet your mind chatter.
Many studies have shown that taking a series of deep, slow breaths can dramatically reduce your blood pressure in just a matter of minutes. Take a seat, sit up straight, close your eyes, and start to breathe slowly and deeply through your nose. Once you’re relaxed, begin to count your breaths on every inhale. See if you can get to thirty without losing count. If you lose count, go back to one. When you’re focusing on your breath and counting your inhales, you have to focus, and the mind chatter will naturally slow down, along with your breaths. With some practice, it might even go away completely.
Focus on a Single Activity, Like a Hobby
Being mindful simply means being aware and focusing on the present moment. This is why many people love extremes sports like paragliding or rock climbing. When you’re engaged in those sports, you have to focus entirely on them, or you could make a fatal mistake! Good news, though, painting, reading a good book, playing guitar, doing beadwork, and many other common hobbies can have the same affect on your mind and help you focus.
Yoga is one of those activities that can help keep you focused and make you feel calmer. When you’re focusing on getting Warrior II just right or trying to perfect downward dog, all thoughts about your kid’s upcoming birthday party or what you’re making for dinner fade away. Having a regular Yoga practice also has many other health benefits, like helping you build strength, flexibility, and balance. It can also make you feel more connected to your mind, body, and spirit.
Meditation is one of those things that many people find intimidating, but it’s easy to start and doesn’t cost anything. Just sit still, maybe in the early morning hours, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and notice how your breath feels. If your mind is going a million miles an hour, start counting your breaths. When a thought arises, acknowledge it like you would a snapshot in a photo album. Then set it aside to revisit later. Go back to focusing on your breath. You can also meditate by staring at a candle flame, the ocean waves, or the countless stars in the night sky. It’s all about focusing your attention and breath on a single thing. Just five minutes a day can make an enormous difference in how you feel.
Learn to be an observer of your thoughts and mind chatter. The book “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer” is about this very topic. He says that you are not your thoughts; you are the one observing them. When you notice that voice in your head and can find a place of wonder about all the things that come to your mind, they will no longer control you. You will control them.