How to Still Your Mind
According to great masters, like Buddha and Patanjali, real happiness and peace can be found only from within. And the first step towards finding that happiness is turning inwards and stilling the mind.
“Yoga is stilling the fluctuations of the mind” – says the 2nd Sutra in the opening chapter of Patanjalis Yoga Sutra.
With a calm mind you will have more strength and clarity to deal with every day life. It’s also a prerequisite for creativity, as you will gain new inspiration and ideas.
A calm mind gives you access to the true wisdom that lies within.
When the mind is busy and distracted, you can get stressed easily. It’s then very hard to find that still place within, the source of clarity, inner peace, joy and contentment.
This is why in yoga practice and also other spiritual traditions there is so much focus on making the mind still.
In our world of sensory overwhelm and a never ending list of tasks, it’s much easier said than done.
The first step is awareness. Awareness is the beginning of change.
How do you know if your mind is too busy?
- You easily get distracted
- You’re lost in your mind, thinking, planning, figuring things out
- You feel nervous when not checking your phone every hour or every 15 min
- You have a busy schedule and an endless to-do list
How do you still the mind in your busy life, so often dominated by social media, tasks and life’s responsibilities?
1. Take time to meditate, every day
If you think you are too busy to meditate… then you should definitely start practicing it!
Even just a few minutes each day will be of great benefit. Meditation will, in fact, give you more time because your mind will become more clear and more organized.
2. Practice Hatha Yoga with focus on forward folds and longer holds
Hatha yoga asanas are postures designed to give you a specific energetic outcome.
When you fold forward and hold poses for longer, you connect with an expression of life force energy, that is responsible for grounding and letting go.
Through these movements, it becomes easier to ground the body, and mind and let go of unnecessary thoughts.
Some great yoga poses that help you relax, let go, and clear your mind from overwhelming thoughts are Balasana (Childs Pose), Apanasana (Knee to Chest Pose), Pashimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold).
3. Yoga Nidra
This is one of the most powerful practices I know, that is profoundly healing, nourishing, and rejuvenating.
During this practice, you come into a deeply relaxed state that’s in between waking and sleeping and promotes relaxation.
Not only that, when practiced regularly, it begins to transform the mind in a positive way, and you may even feel closer to Source, God, or all-pervading consciousness (however you want to name it)
4. One thing at the time
Did you know that there is no such thing as multitasking? Multitasking is just jumping from one task to another.
As a result, you slow everything down, and it’s much more difficult to start and finish one thing because you are constantly context switching.
This can leave your mind feeling pretty chaotic. In general, focusing on one thing at a time means your mind is not overwhelmed with tasks and information.
You begin to gain momentum when sticking to the same task, as your mind and body gets used to what is required to complete the task.
In return, you can expect to feel calmer, more centered and accomplish what you want with more efficiency
5. Turn off your phone, especially at night
One of the worst things you can do is check your phone just before sleeping or first thing in the morning.
Once you start to check your phone, answer your messages, and look on social media, your mind gets activated. Especially when reading or seeing something that might trigger you (which is more likely in the late evening or early morning).
You need a still and calm mind for a nourishing sleep and also to start the day fresh without too many distractions.
6. Do digital detox once in a while
It’s very healing and satisfying to turn off your phone or go off social media for a few days if you can or even just for a few hours.
This will create plenty of space in your mind to restore and recharge. You will notice how refreshed and inspired you’ll feel!
7. Don’t check your phone while eating
It‘s a bad habit and I have to admit, I do it myself sometimes… but as much as I can, I remind myself to put my phone and any distractions aside when eating.
Eating without distractions promotes not only good digestion but it allows you to enjoy every bite and reminds you of the little joys in life.
8. Silence in the morning
Morning is the time when the mind is more likely to be internalized and calm.
Here’s a challenge: stay silent for the first hour in the morning, if you can, or even longer!
Hold this space for your spiritual and personal practice, for new insights, realizations, and inspirations.
This will make it easier to come back to that stillness when you really need it. You’ll feel more calm and grounded throughout your day
9. Set priorities – what information do you need and what information can you live without?
We live in a world of constant information overload. It’s really impossible to absorb everything. You don’t need to be constantly glued to the news or social media and allow it to consume your mind.
Take moment to think about how you could limit your information intake. Maybe check your phone less frequently?
Stop watching the news all the time?
Unfollow accounts you are not interested in?
Less information will give your nervous system time to rest and your mind space for stillness. Less is more.
10. Spend quality time by yourself (not in front of tv or scrolling social media)
Leaving your phone somewhere else or on silent and taking a few hours just for yourself will calm your mind and recharge your whole system.
Take a walk, bathe or read a book and give yourself a break from the screen! The more you practice, the easier it will be for you to go back to this inherent stillness and calmness within.
This will give you strength and clarity to deal with everyday life, inspiration, new ideas and access to the true wisdom that is within.
How still is your mind?
I’d love to start a conversation in the comments below!