I’ve got a busy mind. I’ve got a lot of friends who also have busy minds, it’s like we attract each other. A busy mind is a super productive one, it’s always going, considering every options, recalling information and generating new thoughts based on the last thought and… while it can be fantastic, it can also be exhausting, so here are some tips to get relief from a busy mind. Let’s slow that bad boy down, making sure your mind is working for you and not against you.
What does having a busy mind feel like?
It blows my mind (no pun intended) that some people have never experienced this. It’s my day-to-day life. So… what does it feel like? Constant. It feels constant. So many thoughts, ideas, all linking together like a multi-dimensional spider web. It can feel exciting and engaging, it can also feel unrelenting and exhausting. I really feel like ‘constant’ is the key word here. It just… doesn’t seem to stop.
A busy mind can be great
Busy minds can be active with a lot of productive information. Busy thoughts can be positive ones spurring you on to greatness, generating new, creative and strategic ideas. Lots of them! All of these ideas can be inspiring and energising. A busy mind can protect you from mindless mistakes and help you be successful.
A busy mind can also be… well…. not so great
As fantastic as an idea generating, strategic, plentiful mind can be… it can also be terribly exhausting. Did you know that every thought that you have is actually measurable and occupies “real estate” in your mind? (Reference: Dr Caroline Leaf, from her book 'who switched off my brain?', p.13 to be exact. Read it!). These thoughts of ours use energy and take up space, no wonder it can be overwhelming and tiring. It’s not just that… often many of the ideas generated can become burdensome, that’s where delegation or just simply letting thoughts and ideas 'go' can come in handy.
Let's be honest - not many busy minds are described as peaceful… They can actually be a bit stressful at times. Busy minds can lend themselves to being anxious minds. If you want to learn more about anxiety specifically then head to Beyond Blue’s website, it’s a great resource.
The traps of trying to escape the busyness…
Whether we consciously realise it or not sometimes we turn to different things to ease the pressure of a busy mind and we find ourselves doing things like; mindlessly eating, watching tv episodes, drinking and well… all sorts of other things.
It’s when the things we use to escape from our busy minds don’t serve us that it becomes an issue... So I’m listing a few of my top tips for getting a breather, a moment of relief, from a busy mind (hopefully before you eat the whole tub of ice-cream…). As you read these tips, remember that we’re all unique. These are methods that have given me positive results. They may or may not work for you, you might find success in an entirely unique approach. Feel free to take these ideas and adapt them. Find what works for you.
to get relief from a busy mind
I’m not kidding. It can be that simple. Try it right now, sit in a comfy seat and pretend there’s a balloon in your belly (FYI my imaginary balloon’s light blue…). Take in a deep breath that fills the balloon as big as you can get it, hold the air for a second or two then blow it out (with a bit of force through pursed lips if there’s no one else around). Set your mind to it and do this a few times until you feel a wave of calm wash over your mind and even your body. I learnt this mindfulness exercise from Sara Redman at SRA Corporate Change, she’s a gun and this exercise works for me every time I’m diligent enough to do it.
2. Switch on your senses
This is mindfulness people, get conscious about your sensory experience in your current moment. Yes. It’s your moment, it’s happening to you so pay attention. Listen purposefully and name 5 different things you can hear, then get tactile and describe 5 different things you can feel. Is it the wind across your face, clothing on your skin, grass between your toes? For a greta app to help you do this, check out the Smiling Mind.
3. Move yo’ body
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. What I’m trying to say here is that if your mind is racing, getting your body racing can divert the attention from your busy mind to your busy body. Current research shows that just 30 seconds of intensive exercise can be enough to create a calming effect on the mind and reduce stress. For example... I crank music and dance around my house, each to their own!
4. Get creative
Ok this isn’t an option as such, more of an option to create an option. If you’ve read this far I’m guessing you can resonate with having a busy mind, or at least know someone who does. That means you’ve got a bit of an idea what its like to feel busy and overwhelmed by racing thoughts, yeah? Well I want you to recall a time you felt the most peaceful and relaxed you’ve ever felt in your entire life. Got it? What allowed you to be so darn relaxed? Where were you? What were you doing? I wonder…. How could you get creative and recreate that same sensation of relaxation and peace in your mind? That’s your step 4.
You’ve got this.
Seriously. If you’re aware your mind is busy then you’re able to influence it and calm that bad boy down. Your increased self-awareness has put you in a prime state of empowerment. If you’ve tried mindfulness before and can’t seem to feel the results everyone raves about then have a think about what’s compelling you to create change. When you know your ‘why’ you’re a zillion times more likely to take action. That’s not an exact data reference, more of an educated guess. Either way, you’re a lot more likely to follow through on these things if you’re hungrier for the results than you are prepared to put up with the problem.
Here at SESC we've worked with a lot of clients who have benefitted from the personalised process of success coaching in order to find the unique solution that effectively slows down their busy minds, allowing them to reach their potential. It’s all about finding what works for you. If coaching is something you’re interested in get some more info here, if not and you just like reading our blog that’s awesome too! You’re more than welcome to Follow us on Facebook too for inspiration, ideas and knowledge to help you leverage your unique potential and achieve whatever it is you deem as success.
Steph Edmunds is SESC's Certified Professional Life Coach, Speaker and Facilitator.