This week’s podcast is all about learning to quiet your mind quickly—no matter what life throws at you.
How do I calm and quiet my mind? This is a common question we get almost weekly in our Kwik Brain Facebook community, from members who are starting to measure their success regarding their peace of mind over traditional measures like profit and prestige.
Your mind isn’t designed to work at full steam all the time. Many of us wear lots of hats and have endless to-do lists that can equate to feeling overwhelmed and overloaded.
Our culture is based around the notion that working every hour of the day is better—that the more we work, the more successful we’ll be. Rates of burnout are sky high and many people.
Modern living subjects us to constant stimulation in the form of phone calls, app notifications, meetings, lights, and so on—meaning our brains are overloaded continuously and heightening the risk of burnout.
The good news is that with some simple techniques we can quiet our brain within minutes and start on a journey to better brain health.
In today’s episode I’ll talk about your monkey mind, practical exercises you can do to calm your mind, and why working less could increase your productivity. I’ll leave you with a list of simple, useful tips you can use in your everyday life to find calm and an acronym to remember some valuable steps for when you need to calm your mind in future.
YOUR MONKEY MIND
- People get stuck in their head all the time, but the majority of our thoughts aren’t positive
- Our monkey mind swings through an endless loop of fears, frustrations, projects, and plans
- Neuroscience tells us we need to give our brain a break for the best rates of creativity and productivity. Quiet time produces the most insights and inspiration
CALM YOUR MIND
- Take a moment to stop what you’re doing right now and ask yourself: are you aware right now?
- Close your eyes and ring your awareness and your hand to your heart
- Take a deep breath, observe your breath—don’t manipulate it
- Ask yourself: what do I want? What am I grateful for?
- Breathe normally—just let it happen normally—then open your eyes
- How do you feel?
PEACE OF MIND
- Peace and quiet is a precious and rare commodity these days in a day full of distractions
- Our brain is like a supercomputer—to create a peaceful mind we need to reinstall what is more in our nature, so we avoid it running at full throttle 24/7, and avoid burnout
- Peace of mind isn’t something you have; it’s something you do—there’s a process for achieving it
- Questions are the answer. Ask yourself the right questions, and you’ll get better answers.
- Questions focus your thoughts and filter out the noise cluttering your mind.
- You can try asking yourself some questions like, who are you right now? What do you live for? What do you need the most right now? What are you grateful for? Who are you thankful for? What makes you happy? What is the most delightful thing you’ve seen today? What would help you feel more relaxed? What helps you to release the physical tension from the day?
- Our mind is under neverending assault, so try to turn off as many sources of distractions as possible
- We think constant intense work is positive, but science disagrees. Taking breaks benefits your productivity.
- One research study found that participants who walk in nature had lower blood flow to the parts of the brain associated with rumination.
- Sensory integration: the process by which we receive information through our senses and organize it to participate in daily life
- Our 5 senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, but also 2 more senses
- Vestibular sense: our movement and balance sense that provides information about where our head and body is in space. You can refer to our episode with Aaron Alexander for more
- Proprioception sense: our body awareness sense that tells us about our body parts relative to each other, shows us how much force to use in activities from writing to eating
- Scientists know it’s possible to regulate how aroused you are through your 5 senses— you can use techniques such as dimming the lights, sitting under weighted blankets or listening to nature sounds—anything that helps you get into your body and out of your mind
- Trying to get into your body by asking yourself: What do I see right now? Smell? Feel? Taste?
- You could also try some yoga, which engages your body’s parasympathetic response.
- To keep sharp every day Will Smith does 2 things—he runs and reads
- Research in neuroscience demonstrates a link between exercise and cognitive clarity, and the neurogenesis of cells in the hippocampus—the region associated with memory and learning
T: Transcendental meditation
- Transcendental meditation is a nonreligious type of meditation—you can also use any other kind of meditation
- Meditation can be defined as any practice where an individual uses a technique mantra, thought or activity to achieve a calm state
- Remember: when your brain is scattered you can slow it down in seconds if you make those seconds count
- Guided meditations work well for some people—a third party can help you to relax and have your thoughts guided rather than having to do it all yourself
- Check out Muse—a headband using neurofeedback to make meditation easy
- People who meditate show more grey matter in a particular region, better connections between brain regions, less brain-related atrophy
- Helpful quote: Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.
** Please note, this episode is educational only and not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.