Taming the overactive mind

Do you recognise when your mind gets super busy ‘thinking’? How do you work with that and negotiate taming the overactive mind?

Wait until your water is clear

Tool 13 – The over-active mind

When my mind is in super ‘over-active’ mode and full of ‘chatter’ I sometimes use the visual image that I explain next, to provide a focus and regain some stillness and quietening, or at very least some kind of awareness.

I visualise and imagine a glass of water with mud and sediment in the bottom. When I stir the glass (over-thinking), the sediment mixes around (rather like the mind when it is busy with thoughts racing around). If I can stop stirring (pause for a moment), the whirling of the sediment slows down and eventually settles, which brings back some clarity to the murky water (murky mind).

When my mind is super busy, simply remembering this image, reminds me to stop stirring the pot. It is time to meditate or just step back and notice that that my mind is racing and that I can offer it some ease.

When your mind is busy try this visualisation for 3 minutes. Imagine the stirred-up glass, stop stirring, allow things to settle and love the rest phase!

Taming the mind

Image source: 

Tool 14 – Short meditation script

Learning to meditate is one way of managing the mind and the many thoughts that journey through the mind each minute or every day.

A short meditation to quieten the mind can really help to boost energy levels. Giving the mind time to relax and settle can be more energising than a night’s sleep.

Activity: Practice this short meditation activity.

  • Sit comfortably with an open and upright posture – keep your back lengthened and crown of the head to the ceiling – not slouching (I will discuss posture in a later blog).
  • Close your eyes.
  • Focus on breathing deeply and slowly for 10 counts (focus especially on breathing out slowly, the inward breathe will happen naturally)
  • Become aware of the activity of the mind and the speed of your thoughts.
  • Let the thoughts pass through your mind, let them come and go.
  • When the mind wanders, just notice and bring the focus back to the breath.
  • Focus on stillness.
  • Allow the mind to slow down.
  • Let the mind become quiet and silent.
  • Give the mind permission to rest.
  • If you are tempted to hold onto any thought, be aware of that thought.
  • Acknowledge that you have heard that thought, smile and let it go, release the thought just for now.
  • Bring your attention back to focusing on the stillness, allowing the mind to slow down, letting the mind rest, and become quiet and silent.
  • Allow your mind to be clear and peaceful.
  • Be with this feeling.

When complete, give your fingers and toes a wiggle, gently move your arms and legs, bring your attention back to your breathing and make sure you are fully alert before moving off to do something else.

Tool 15 – Affirmations, affirmations, affirmations

Affirmations are positive, feel-good statements that can lift our spirit and sense of self. Saying them regularly reinforces them! Use them to replace some of the less helpful chit chat that can sometimes clutter the mind.

Example affirmations include:

  • I value myself, I believe in myself or I trust myself
  • I am healed or I am loved
  • All is well
  • I can handle this situation
  • Abundance flows into my life
  • I attract all good things into my life

Affirmations are always written using present tense, as if you already have and believe the thing you desire to have or believe. Two great books which describe the use of affirmations are You can heal your life (Louise Hay) and Feel the fear and do it anyway (Susan Jeffers).

Activity:

  • Look back at your list of self-talk statements (tool 11/12) and for each statement, rewrite this as a positive affirmation that you could say to yourself.
  • Write three affirmations that you could use regularly to support yourself.

Remember, it is important to say these positive affirmations repeatedly and regularly, so that they become the pattern of thinking.

Crystal tip: If you like crystals, a crystal bracelet can be worn as a reminder to say your daily affirmations. Pick a crystal that resonates with you.

Tool 16 – Creating well-being

The way we think (our thoughts) will significantly impact the quality of our life experience and the quality of our overall health and well-being.

Thoughts are ‘energy’ they can be used to heal, or they can create dis-ease (discomfort, discontentment, dissatisfaction etc.), which can contribute to stress and other physical ailments (I had an episode of sciatica once and I swear it was because I kept saying a certain situation was a pain in my butt!?)

A simple example of the thinking and mind processes is when we are feeling unwell. The most common process is to create thoughts that reject and resist the discomfort and pain (e.g., I hate this, I want this to go away etc.); but these thoughts are often not helpful for the healing process as they focus on those things that are not wanted. If the mind focuses on what it does not want, that is sometimes what it experiences.

Think of a time when you have felt unwell or when you experienced an ache or pain. How did you respond? Make some notes in your journal.

A tip…. Imagine the body to be like a small child. The more you berate, put down or tell a child off ‘Don’t do this, stop feeling that etc’, the more the child rebels. Instead, develop the mind to become a loving parent or best friend; instead of berating, offer some attention, acceptance, love and wise mind inquiry (e.g., ask ‘What is it? What do you need?’, ‘How can I help’). This offers a ‘stepping-stone’ to a greater sense of connected-ness between the mind and the body. This awareness will take time, so it is essential to adopt a patient and nurturing approach (loving kindness).

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