How do you quieten down and calm your mind?
When we are stressed, busy, or just have too many things going on, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to take some time out and stop, pause, slow down.
So why is this so difficult to do?
If I’m too busy I can feel like my head is spinning with information overload. So I try to stop and do nothing just for a few minutes.
Move away from the computer. Drink some water. Breathe.
I start each day with a list of things that absolutely have to be done, without fail. And I have a separate plan of things that I want to get done overall – the bigger picture if you like! The two of course feed into one another.
Sometimes when I move away from the desk, the work, and my head is spinning, my thoughts feel disorganised, I can feel a sense of overwhelm. I stop. And practice something called Box breathing.
This is a technique that I learned from Brene Brown years ago – I think she said she’d learnt it from American Marines! So who knows where it originates from.
It goes like this:
~ Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your stomach, for a count of four.
~ Hold in that breath for a count of four.
~ Slowly exhale all the air through your mouth, contracting your stomach, for a count of four.
~ Hold the empty breath for a count of four.
And keep going.
What you’re doing by holding the breath on either side is key, as this is the part where you’re reoxygenating your brain, your body, your blood – everything. And this is what induces a calmness back into the mind.
Most of us don’t think about breathing! Of course not, it’s an automated action that our bodies just do for us, without requiring effort (unless we are unwell). But very often we are shallow breathing, not using up all of the capacity in our lungs, and therefore not feeding ourselves the oxygen that we couldn’t actually live without.
Build this breathing technique into your day, and see what the effects are for you.
It can: induce calm, improve sleep, deepen concentration, and regulate our emotions.
The image I’ve used looks like somewhere calm and peaceful, the green leaves representing the heart and healing, it’s outside so the air is fresh and ready to be breathed in (although it was taken in London!).
Getting outside when your mind is on overtime, to slow down and take in nature, whilst you breathe! Recommended.