Focus on your body
It's actually impossible to focus your attention onto your body and worry at the same time. Try it! Focus all of your attention on the feeling in your feet and toes. Notice the way they feel inside your shoes, pay attention to any tingles and their temperature. When we're fully focused on our bodies, there's no room for worry or overthinking and a calmness can take over the mind. You can do this anywhere to instantly start to feel calmer.
Often a racing mind can be caused by an excess of adrenaline in the body. We we perceive something as a threat, adrenaline is produced in an attempt to help us to deal with the situation. But this can mean our thoughts are all over the place and it's hard to concentrate on anything and feel calm. Exercise can help in a number of different ways. It can help us to burn off excess adrenaline and produce feel good hormones in the body that induce a sense of calm. In fact, the National Health Service in the UK say that if exercise was a medication, it would be one of the most effective ever!
Acts of Kindness
It's all too easily to get caught up in our own concerns – but something really interesting happens when we turn our attention to helping someone else. We're distracted away from our own troubles!
Doing an act of kindness has been shown to help you to feel more positive as well as boosting your sense of worth and value. Things like giving up your seat, buying food for a homeless person or paying someone a compliment could all help you to calm your mind and feel better.
Get it written down
Thoughts and worries can go around and around in our heads endlessly. However something interesting happens when we write down our thoughts. We get it 'out' of our minds and into black and white. Somehow, seeing it written down helps us to get a clearer perspective on things. We're also offloading it and this can be a big relief. Try it by just putting pen to paper and writing a stream of consciousness. As any thought or worry pops into your head, write it down. It can be helpful to do this is the morning to set you up for the day, or at night to calm your mind before bed.
Being more present is one the best ways to calm the mind. If we're truly focused on what we're doing and experiencing in the here and now, we're distracted away from worries and concerns. Being present is like a muscle, we have to exercise it and when we do it gets stronger. Practise paying close attention to the things that you're doing; if you're doing the washing up, notice all the sensations, the things you see, feel and smell. If you're walking along the street, practise being present then too, notice the feeling of the ground underfoot, the air on your skin, the sights and sounds around you. When we tune into our senses and pay attention, it's almost impossible to worry at the same time.
Take time for yourself
When it's all go go go, it's no wonder our minds can feel anything but calm. We're so often bombarded with information, demands on our attention and things that we have to do. How can you build some time and space into your day to give yourself a mental break? Perhaps consider a walk at lunchtime or some time to read a book, talk to a friend or get some exercise. Taking some time for yourself is a vital part of helping you to feel your best and helping your mind to function at it's best too!
Talk to someone
Our thoughts can seem a lot more terrible when we keep them all to ourselves. Talking to a friend or loved one and 'getting things out' can be an amazing way of releasing the mental burden. Don't keep things all to yourself, reach out to others and know that you are not alone.
I'd love to hear from you about any tips you have for calming the mind. Let us know in the comments.
Chloe Brotheridge is an anxiety therapist and Calm Coach. Get a FREE relaxation MP3, one of the most powerful tools for creating more mental calm, by signing up at www.calmer-you.com
Connect With Chloe
Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton - From Fame to Prostitution to Advocacy
Hall of Fame Basketball Star Chamique Holdsclaw on Mental Resilience
Diana Nightingale on her husband Earl Nightingale's Principles for Mental Health Success
JoAnn Buttaro on Date Rape & PTSD Survival
Story: Its Never Too Late
Gabe Howard on BiPolar Advocacy
Phil Fulmer on Teen Suicide
Prison, Bipolar and Mania with Andy Behrman
Columbia Univeristy's Dr. Rynn on OCD