How often do you give your busy mind a break?
Calming your mind can enhance your quality of life.
Have you ever quieted your thoughts and heard the sound of silence in your mind? I know, this sounds strange—the sound of silence? What does that even mean? Basically, when you quiet your mind and it is in a state of silence, you remove all the incessant chatter and are able to make room for mental relaxation. I like to call this state of mental relaxation “calming moments.” This doesn’t mean you stop thinking completely; it simply means you dial down.
Practicing the technique of silence trains your mind to be free of clutter and thoughts, and to reach a state of simple silence and relaxation.
It takes time, patience and practice!
I know what you may be thinking, “Total silence, yeah right! How in the world can I clear my mind of clutter?” When I first started practicing this, I asked the same complex question. Because my mind is like an overactive hummingbird with a running dialogue, I was overwhelmed by the idea of re-centering my thoughts and creating mental silence. But I soon realized it’s relatively simple and extremely beneficial. The most important key to the success of calming moments is time, patience and practice.
How long do you practice calming moments?
When you begin practicing calming moments, I recommend you start with a minute a day. When you become more comfortable, after a week or so, increase the time by adding another minute or two. The goal is to try and build up to practicing a calming technique for 10 minutes a day. When you’re consistent, it becomes natural. Look at it like a footpath. After you walk over the same area over and over again, a path will develop. When you practice calming moments consistently, you create a habit and re-train your mind, making it much easier to practice.
Re-centering your thoughts.
When I initially began meditating, my thoughts bounced all over the place from the grocery list, to errands I had to run, plans I had for the week, things I needed to accomplish at work, emails to send and so on. For the first few weeks, I found it almost comical how many times I had to bring myself back to center and once again try to quiet my mind. The good news—every time I practiced, it got a little easier. This will likely happen to you, too.
Re-centering your thoughts allows you to bring your mind back to silence when it gets off track and begins to wander. When initially practicing calming moments, it’s important to know ways to re-center your thoughts. It’s inevitable that your thoughts will initially go from here to there, so don’t become discouraged.
Relax your head and shoulders. Relax your arms, core, abdomen and back. Feel the relaxation through your hips and down your legs. Just let go. You may notice your mind wandering. This will quiet over time.
Let yourself feel more and more relaxed. Feel the tension in your muscles loosen. Be in total peace with your surroundings. Allow yourself to feel more and more relaxed until you feel a sense of complete relaxation.
Visualizing technique: Sit or lay down in a quiet room, one that is free of all distractions. Close your eyes; visualize a leaf floating down a steady, calm stream of water. Think, see and hear the leaf and the stream. This will relax your mind and prevent you from thinking about things currently occurring in your life. Every time you feel your mind becoming more active or beginning to wander, bring your thoughts back to the leaf floating in the water. Visualize a calming place and try to incorporate as many senses as possible. Soak in the sounds, smells and textures of what you are seeing. Imagine the sound of waves to calm your mind; hear the waves. Picture yourself in a beautiful scene in nature; feel the sunshine, hear the birds, feel the warm breeze blowing or feel the grass between your toes. Use your imagination and enjoy this experience.
Breathing technique: Another way to bring oneself back to center, to achieve a state of relaxation and come to a moment of silence is to focus on your breathing. Breathe in deeply and naturally; exhale slowly and fully. Concentrate on the air being pulled in through your nostrils, moving down your throat, deeply into your chest, feeling the air fill your lungs. Then focus on the air being pushed back out of your lungs, back up and out your mouth. Feel the air grazing your lips and imagine it being expelled out to the world. Repeat this cycle in a steady, slow rhythm.
Learning a breathing technique is not only important during moments of silence to create a state of relaxation, but is also imperative during exercise. In addition, a breathing technique can reduce stress when you are in a state of anxiety or frustration. Breathing can be used as a calming technique. Whenever your mind begins to wander, re-center back to focusing on your breathing.
There are countless techniques and ways to practice calming moments to quiet your mind and help you achieve peace and happiness. What makes it fun and interesting is that you get to choose what works best for you. You can practice breathing techniques, meditate, use visualization and even pray to bring yourself a sense of calm. After practicing this for an extended period of time, you will struggle less and less to keep your thought process relatively idle.
- It helps you to focus better, promotes more clarity and reduces stress and anxiety.
- It helps you stay calm when you are in a stressful situation and not react as quickly to your bodily sensations and fear centers.
- It trains your mind to re-center and reach a state of simple silence, mental relaxation, harmony, peace and happiness within yourself, which can drastically boost your level of happiness.
- In a crazy and chaotic world, calming moments can help you become more comfortable with being alone, listening to your inner self, connecting with and creating harmony between your soul and the outer world.
Take time to reflect on the self-discovery questions to open your heart and mind.
- Why is it important to you to incorporate calming moments into your daily routine?
- Write down the first word or thought that comes to mind when you think about calming moments.
- What part of your life do you think will be impacted the most when you incorporate calming moments into your life or daily routine?
- Name something you would miss if you don’t incorporate silence into your life.
Take time over the next week to implement the action steps to boost your focus and ensure your success.
- This week, practice 2 minutes of silence daily.
- After you have completed your 2 minutes of silence, take a few deep breaths, open your eyes and allow yourself a full minute of peacefulness before getting up and returning to the busyness of life.
- Over the next month, commit to increasing your calming moments to 5 minutes daily.