Often wonder where your mind wanders off .
The day is over, your head hits the pillow and you can finally relax… and right on cue, your brain decides now is a great time to go over everything you’re anxious about, from the time you said the wrong thing to your boss to the year you forgot your partner’s birthday.
“When everything is quiet your brain says ‘A-ha! Now is my time’,”.
“Sometimes a creative or positive idea will surface, but often it’s negative thoughts that are jostling for attention.”
However, imagine a scenario where you need to keep on tending to your bustling psyche away from the activity tangle. Whenever you’re attempting to be available, attempt these strategies:
- Address the alarm: When you’re in a stressful situation, your amygdala — the part of your brain responsible for emotions and memories — sends rapid signals to the rest of your body to prepare you to act. You might know this as your fight-or-flight response. “Your brain races from thought to thought and back again because it thinks those thoughts are important to your safety.”
- Offload your thoughts: A brain dump is a simple mind-clearing tool that can be incredibly effective, and you can do it anywhere. Simply grab a piece of paper or open the notes app on your phone, and jot down every racing thought or worry that you’re dealing with. Don’t hold back or censor yourself, just let it all out.
- Time your breathing: “Remember to breathe” — duh, thanks for the helpful advice. Breathing in a particular way can help your body activate your brain's relaxation response. “It is physically impossible to have the stress response and relaxation response simultaneously”. Give 4–7–8 breathing a try. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, then breathe out for eight seconds. Repeat for a few minutes, or until you feel yourself calming down.
- Take a mindful moment: There are many types of meditation, but to address racing thoughts you want the kind that will bring your attention to your body and ground you in the present. A guided meditation that encourages you to focus on your breath and body can work rapidly to bring you back to earth.
- Tap it out: You’ve heard of acupuncture, right? Well, tapping is kind of like that, except you can do it yourself and there are no needles necessary. It involves tapping certain parts of your body with your fingertips, the aim of which is to stimulate so-called ‘meridian’ points that form the basis of traditional Chinese medicine. People who love tapping claim it calms the body and the mind quickly and effectively. While scientific research hasn’t conclusively proven the existence of meridian points, tapping is free, painless, and easy to try yourself. Simply take two fingers and gently tap the following parts of your body for a few seconds each before moving on to the next:
- Where your eyebrow meets your eye
- The outer side of your eye
- Under your eye
- Under your nose (on the indentation in your upper lip)
- The middle of your chin
- Your collarbone point
- Under your arm (below your armpit)
- The top of your head
Continue this tapping circuit for as long as it takes for your mind to feel at ease.