Oh, I am sooo with you on this one – while I have days when my mind feels so clear and focused, there are also (many!) days when it’s like having multiple personalities in my head.
And, honestly, most of them are or overthinking or criticizing.
So, what do I do when my mind gets too chatty?
Here are my three of the most powerful go-to tools when I want to get back to clarity:
1 - I get back into my body 🤸
When I am really present in my body, paying attention to my senses and sensation in my body, and tuning into how I feel on a physical level, my mind gets calmer.
At times, to get there I need to really engage my body physically – go for sports or a walk, strain my muscles with something that is a bit challenging.
Other times, I use my senses as a bridge, perhaps doing an exercise called 5-4-3-2-1 (find it in an ebook linked lower in this post) or a self-checkin.
Whichever it is, the body is one of the most powerful shortcuts for quietening my mind.
2 - I use my breath as an anchor 🧘
Putting attention to the breath is another way of bringing our thoughts “down to earth”.
At times, it can be Box Breathing, one of my favorite exercises that I highly recommend not just for calming the mind, but also for calming any strong emotions or refreshing your physical energy.
Other times, it’s more about simple breath awareness – noticing all the subtle nuances of how it feels to take a deep slow breath. Observing the feeling of the breath on that little triangle of skin above my lip, feeling my ribcage opening up, perceiving how my feelings and energy change and quiet down with those deep exhales.
Sometimes, I use this one: for 10 deep slow breaths, I choose a word that I am breathing in and a word I am breathing out.
For example, I keep repeating in my mind that I am breathing in calm while inhaling (and perhaps visualizing that too), and breathing out tension while I am exhaling.
It could be joy & sadness, clarity & stress, confidence & insecurity, strength & fear, or any combination that resonates with you at the moment.
3 - I am intentional about my focus 🎯
If you are looking to keep your mind focused and clear – give it an anchor that it can hold on to.
In the previous examples, I shared how I often use breath as that anchor, but you can use pretty much anything as a point for your focus.
When it comes down to chatter, it’s much easier to focus on something than to just get away from the “mental noise”.
So, to clear my head, I pick what will I be focusing on.
Perhaps I choose to read an article, write something (like this newsletter) or work on a new set of ideas or materials. It could also be juggling or yoga or pretty much anything.
I seek something that is creative, engaging and mildly challenging – yet not too difficult.
Challenging enough to engage me – but it doesn’t require a lot of mental power (which at the moment when I feel low on clarity tends to be a scarce resource).
Whatever it is, when I feel my head started to get “chatty”, I seek to not multitask.
I train myself to keep on focusing on this single thing I chose as my “anchor”, even if I don’t feel very focused today and focus might not come easy to me.
Training your focus can be practiced by meditating and using meditation as your “mental gym” – but it can also be practiced by practicing focus itself, in real life, and by challenging yourself to do it better, moment after moment after moment…
I don’t seek perfection – instead, I seek to keep on bringing my attention back to my anchor, as regularly as I can.
Because training your mind is not about results (nor about sustaining your focus perfectly) – but exactly the opposite!
The training is in the effort, in every time your focus slips and you bring it back – in your “mental gym”, that is the real curl for your mental muscle.
While these three are the foundations, I also use a lot of other mindfulness tools – sometimes quick and easy ones, and other times longer and deeper ones.
You can discover as many as 90 different tools in Mindfulness Made Easy, a free ebook available to all in the Happiness Academy newsletter, containing 90 short & easy mindfulness exercises.
Remember: the point is not to do every exercise in the book – but to enjoy the exploration, try out the ones that intrigue you, and keep them in your mind as handy tools when you need them.
In the end, it’s not about the tools – it’s about practice.
Training your mind. And developing habits of being present, mindful, and aware – one day at a time.
And if you would to join us for a week of practice and exploration, a week to boost your mindfulness and learn many new tips & tricks, come, and train with us at Mindfulness Getaway in Istria.
It is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a mindful, present week, one that is all about renewal and learning.
Engage with that grounded, calm place in your mind and body.
Discover a range of practical, simple, and useful mindfulness tools.
Connect with yourself and with what you love about your life.
And here is a little preview of how it will look like: