Check out this list of my favorite, highly effective ways to relax an overstimulated mind.
1. Revel in total darkness. Turning the lights off gives your mind and your visual perception system a chance to rest. If you can’t find a truly dark room, tie a scarf around your eyes to block out any cracks of light coming in.
2. Massage acupressure point GV-26 for mental alertness. With your middle finger, push down on the indentation just a centimeter below your nose and above your lip and watch your mind instantly brighten.
3. Laughter truly is medicine. We take ourselves so seriously. No wonder the mind has no space in there. That is a whole lot of pressure you put on yourself. Lighten up with a comedy, with stand-up on Spotify, with cat memes…whatever does it for you.
4. Talk it out. Turn on the voice recorder app on your phone and just start blabbering all that’s on your mind. Don’t censor yourself because you’re going to delete it as soon as you’re finished. There’s something about recording your voice that really extracts all the gunk in a way that talking without it doesn’t.
5. Write it out. Similarly to #4, writing non-stop without self-censorship empties all the thoughts swimming around in your head, leaving a clear, calm space in their place. I recommend to write without stopping, without hesitation for a minimum of 10 minutes. Music really helps. Try the 12-minute Spotify playlist I made just for this.
6. Hone in on the magic spot. Utilize the ancient meditation technique of focusing your attention all upon a central spot, or a bindu. You can choose an interesting dot on the wall or work with an image like this Tantric cave painting from 17th century Rajasthan, shown here.
7. Put it in the fire. And while we’re on the topic of Tantric meditations, light a candle and focus intently upon the flame. Quickly “throw” all thoughts that arise into the fire. This beautiful technique empties your unwanted mental activity with the help of the natural element of fire.
8. Clear your living space. It’s difficult for the mind to feel at ease if our home is cluttered. Take 10 minutes and tackle the most piled up zone, and watch how refreshed you feel.
9. Go solo. When we are alone, our bodies and minds know exactly what to do to renew our energy and attention. Most of us don’t get that luxury. Make quality you-only time, even if it’s a quick walk around the block by yourself.
10. Organize the mental mess. Get a nice big blank white paper and write down every task, every worry, every need that is spinning around in there. Organize and sort the priorities from the energy drains.
11. Allow in your deepest breaths of the day. Lay down with one hand on your lower belly and the other hand upon your chest. Allow your inhale to reach all the way into your hand on your belly. Then open your mouth to let out the exhale and feel it pass by your other hand along the way up. Connecting to your breath in a deep way facilitates profound release of all unnecessary tension.
12. Silence is golden. How often do we actually sit with the T.V. and music off, with our devices on silence, in a place where no one is speaking? Similar to #1, giving your senses a highly needed break allows some space for the mind to clear itself. Silence is restorative.
13. Test yourself. Try counting from 1 to 10 very slowly without allowing any thoughts to pop up in between the numbers. Be aware: this is an advanced meditation- one that creates clarity and slows down the rate of thinking as you practice.
14. Let go of the need to DO. Our culture lives non-stop, go go go all day long. Give yourself 5 minutes to land and let go of the need to do anything (and that includes thinking about doing as well). This is more challenging then it sounds, but well worth it! Cultivating this skill of letting go is crucial to mental wellness.
15. Color a mandala. Let your mind relax and get creative with one of these free coloring sheets.
16. Try Bacopa Monnieri. Bacopa is an ancient Ayurvedic herb that is revered for its mind clearing abilities, mainly through reduction of anxiety and the increasing of mental alertness. Unlike other brain health supplements that have side effects (like headaches), Bacopa yields only the good kind of results, but is only effective after taking for a couple weeks.
17. Tackle that to do pile. Each less-than-thrilling errand we put off, like mundane repairs, takes up mental space, and soon enough, it can feel kind of cramped in that noggin. Write down one thing you’ve been avoiding taking care of, then just do it!
18. Stop living to please others. The more people we are invested in making happy, the more we are pulled in different directions. Believe it or not, this creates a big mess in our minds. What’s ironic is that when we drop into our inner sense of direction and what will most fulfill us alone, we end up making the largest impact possible on the people we care about most.
19. Move it, move it. Get into the endorphin zone with a run, dance or a spin class. Stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, make everything tense and uptight, including our minds. Getting that heart rate up for even just 10 minutes means a more balanced body and mind.
20. Let meaning lead the way. Just as tedious errands tend to pile up, we also seem to procrastinate what matters most to us. Whether that means volunteering, writing or spending time with a certain someone, get it on the schedule and commit to doing it, and watch your mind and heart breathe a sigh of relief.
21. Get the best night’s sleep ever. Take an all-natural tincture, like Herb Pharm’s Relaxing Sleep, get a massage in the evening or take a hot bath with a chunk of Himalayan pink rock salt (which you can pick up at natural grocery) and drift off to dreamland, where everything sorts itself out.
22. Spit it out. Sometimes there are things going on in there that we don’t know exactly how to express. Gibberish makes for a silly and powerful way to clear our minds by fully expressing what we can’t with words. Try it alone or with a friend. Just make any sounds that match the feeling you have inside.
23. Simply start. Whatever is on your mind- work, relationships, home- actions speak louder than mental words. Get started on what you desire to see in your life, and soon enough, your mental landscape will begin to shift. And if you don’t know where to start, let me help you.