If your mind is racing, chances are that it’s full of things that (in reality) don’t much matter. All sorts of what-ifs and those thoughts that fortunately almost never come to fruition. If they did, we’d be living in something far too close to our own personal horror movie.
So how can you get things off your mind without seeming to be uncaring and detached to those around you?
The first thing is not to get too hung up on any specific technique. Because our minds are often all over the place, different techniques will work with different effectiveness on different days and different people.
I like to have a library of techniques to use to get things off my mind depending on my mood on any given day and my suspicion is that (over time) you will too.
If you’ve got a few minutes to spare then meditation can be a great way to quiet your mind and bring it back to something close to normality.
Some people like to sit or lie down, close their eyes and focus on their breathing. Others prefer to focus on something – maybe a spot on the ceiling, maybe the flickering of a candle flame.
Other people meditate as they walk – that has the added benefit that you get some exercise without really noticing that you’re exercising. Essentially having a walk and a breath of fresh air to get things off your mind and maybe even blow away some cobwebs.
My personal favourite is to lie down, put on my headphones and press “play” so that I can listen to a binaural beats meditation program. It’s a fairly recent process that removes the long learning curve of traditional forms of meditation – the techies have figured out what your brain does when you’re in a deep meditative state and does some weird and wonderful (and very effective) behind the scenes stuff to take you to the same place as a Zen monk spends their entire life learning.
Put on some music
Most of us can get lost in music.
Be careful what music you choose – some music styles are more uplifting than others. You’ll probably know which styles lift your mood and which ones have the opposite effect.
Mood music is just that.
Create your own playlist that takes your mind off things and lets you chill – I’ve done that with a CD that I keep in my car in case I’m driving in busy traffic and I find that even the busiest journeys just melt into the background when I put it on. It clears my mind of the otherwise oppressive traffic.
It doesn’t take long to do something like that and you could even put your playlist on somewhere like YouTube so that it’s readily available to you and anyone else who shares your musical tastes.
Put on some subliminal messages
It may sound odd but we’re surrounded by subliminal messages.
Advertisers use them on us all the time – watch a few adverts with the sound switched off and see what extra messages are being sent to you.
So why not use subliminal messages to your advantage and use them to get things off your mind?
I was initially sceptical about whether subliminal messages would really work but I’ve certainly found them to be useful and my view is that if something works, I’m happy with using it even if there’s no logical reason that should be the case. There are enough “we haven’t got a clue” things in the universe that one more doesn’t make much difference.
Smile more often
The simplest things can make a disproportionate amount of difference and smiling is certainly one of the simplest things we can do.
It lifts your mood and works to help get rid of negative thoughts from your mind. Chances are that other people will smile back at you so long as you’re not grinning like a maniac.
Write things down
If some of the things buzzing through your mind are important things that you’re worried about forgetting, write them down.
This simple act lets your mind relax – it doesn’t have to keep trying to remember everything because that sheet of paper or journal or computer document has taken over the responsibility.
And there’s actually a very good chance that you’ll never have to go back to that sheet of paper that took the burden off your mind (think of all those ultra-important things you learned at school that you’ve never had to go back to since).
It could even be worth having separate documents or sheets of paper for different things.
A diary reminder for birthdays and anniversaries and other important things that only happen occasionally.
A sheet of paper to take round the grocery store if you don’t shop online.
A subscription for regular purchases so that Amazon’s computer remembers to re-order them for you.
A “that would be nice” section for your bucket list.
And so on.
Old fashioned sheets of paper or notebooks are still very effective.
Spreadsheets allow you to move things around quickly yet still keep them in nice, organised, compartments.
Word documents let your thoughts sprawl more – which can be very useful.
Along with meditation, hypnosis is one of my favourite techniques.
It’s simple – put on headphones, press play.
And it’s nicely tailored.
There’s an incredible amount of pre-recorded hypnosis tracks on the web and there are some top quality tracks available at the click of a mouse.
The hypnotist does all the hard work, leading your mind to where it needs to be. And that includes a less cluttered place where your mind is quieter and less flustered.
All at a much cheaper price than your local hypnotist and at a time and place that’s convenient to you. No offence to hypnotists, they do a great job, just saying that for anything like this, a pre-recorded track like this one beats them hands down for price and convenience.