We’ve all been there: busy days full of meetings, deadlines, phone calls, emails, demanding bosses, more emails, more phone calls and more deadlines. Is it any wonder our world is so stressed?
If you’re anything like me, a symptom of a stressful day is a busy mind; one that can’t stop racing around the same things over and over leaving you with a serious case of busy brain. It’s something that happens to me on a regular basis and at times, it can go on for days.
There are, however, lots of ways you can de-stress and try to calm your busy mind. Here are a few of my top tips for shutting that brain off and getting some respite:
MAKE A LIST
As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I’m a huge list writer. It helps me gain back some control and see things clearer if I’m a little foggy. So when my mind is going crazy and I can’t seem to calm it down, the first thing I do is grab a pen and notebook and make a list of what it is that’s bothering me. Sometimes, putting the worries and thoughts down on paper physically helps to clear my mind. Other times, it can make me feel more anxious if the list is a long one. But it’s good practice to get all your concerns out on paper and look at them from a practical perspective. If the list-making doesn’t help immediately, at least you know that you have a handy list ready for tomorrow!
I remember once being told by a nurse before having a routine operation that I have a problem with remembering to breathe. At the time, I thought this was an odd thing to say but recently I’ve started to see her point. When I feel anxious or overwhelmed, I forget to breathe properly; my breath goes very shallow and in turn, I begin to feel panicky. This happens a lot when I can’t seem to tame my busy brain but it’s so important to stay calm and gain control back. Filling your lungs with air can feel hugely satisfying so remember to do this if your mind is taking over. Panicking will only make the brain more haphazard.
This might sound really obvious and it is: the best way to get over a busy mind is to distract yourself from the worries and thoughts you’re having. For me, that can involve having a hot bubble bath whilst watching YouTube videos or curling up on the sofa to watch old re-runs of The Big Bang Theory. For you, it might mean hitting the gym or calling your best friend for a gossip. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you’re doing something that takes your mind off things, even if only for a short while. The thoughts and concerns won’t go away but at least you’ll get a bit of a break from them.
I’m very new to the world of meditation so won’t try and make out that I’m an expert but recently, I’ve found meditating a really great way to take my mind off things that are bothering me. I downloaded the Calm app when I was travelling to and from London every day for work and tried to get into it but screaming babies, chatty commuters and the every-day delays got in the way. I’ve recently taken it up again and have to say, it’s a really fantastic way to get some headspace. I recently got the Calm book from the library and am going to give that a read too. It’s all about taking yourself away mentally and centering your mind and body to keep you grounded. I’d really recommend giving it a go if your brain is anything like mine.
I try really hard to make this my last step in my quest for a calmer mind but sometimes, all you want to do is talk and offload to someone. One of my golden rules for anxiety is to not ‘dump’ on my boyfriend as it can be hard for him too to hear me stressed and anxious. But there are days when actually, all you want is a cuddle and a moan. And that’s fine! Whether it’s your partner, your mum or your best mate, find someone you love and trust and give them an earful. Just don’t make it a regular thing!
How do you keep your busy mind from taking over? Let me know in the comments! xo