clear your mind it’s easy for people to feel anxious and uneasy when there is so much negative news about the coronavirus epidemic.
Anxiety can be understood as it can turn our lives upside-down and threaten our sense of safety.
These thoughts and feelings can be hard to let go.
However, anxiety can be used to help us develop healthy habits.
These activities can help you to calm your anxious thoughts the next time they come up.
1) Get distracted
If you feel overwhelmed by your thoughts, it is time to find another perspective.
You should not let your responsibilities get in the way of your personal growth. I suggest that you take a break from them for a few minutes to allow you to regroup and see things from a new perspective.
Distraction gives you the space and time to think things through and allows you to focus on something else for a while.
Researchers examined how the brain achieves optimal inattention by altering the brainwave synchronization between different brain regions. This was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2015.
Participants were instructed that they would feel a tapping sensation on their left middle finger or left big toe during the study.
In some cases, they were told to report only the stimuli they felt on the foot and ignore what they felt on their hands.
Other times, they were instructed to report only sensations in their hand and ignore those from their feet.
Researchers discovered patterns of synchrony between brain regions that showed the mind could focus attention on either the foot or hand.
As author Christopher Bergland concluded from the study in Psychology Today, “If you ever find yourself…ruminating about a thought, remember that distraction is a highly effective way to shift the synchronization of your brainwaves and gives you the power to ignore on demand.”
You can get outside to exercise and distract yourself. You can focus on a hobby or project that you are passionate about. You can lose yourself in a book or the newspaper.
While you might be at home, that doesn’t mean your hobby or project can’t take center stage.
You can find many workouts on Youtube.
Exercise is a great way to exercise. Running is my favorite activity. It’s a great way to get your body moving, and it gives you those feeling-good feelings.
Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School Ronald Siegel says, “Whatever we resist persists” when it comes down to the brain.
It will only get worse if you become angry and upset that you can’t quit ruminating. It is impossible to “force” your brain into silence.
What’s the solution? Mindfulness.
Particularly, observe your mind and surroundings in an open-minded manner.
Mindfulness is when you are aware of what you see with your senses and your mental state through your thoughts and emotions. Research is showing that mindfulness training can actually improve the structure of your brain.
Research has shown that mindfulness can reduce rumination.
Mindfulness allows us to suspend judgment and let our natural curiosity about the mind’s workings guide us, allowing us to approach the experience with kindness and warmth.
Instead of running away from the problems, or hiding from them, get into it. Pay attention to what your brain is doing and how it feels.
My own life has been transformed by mindfulness.
Did you know that six years ago, I was anxious and miserable working in a warehouse.
It was almost a random decision that I made to explore Buddhism and eastern philosophy.
My life was forever changed by what I learned. It was a simple habit I developed of mindfulness that allowed me to let go of all the things that were holding me back and allow myself to live fully in the present moment.
To be clear, I am not a Buddhist. I don’t have any spiritual inclinations. I am just a normal guy who discovered eastern philosophy when he was feeling down.
Click here for more information about my journey.
Clearing your mind can be easier if you don’t have anything to think about.
Meditation can help you clear your mind in a very real manner. It allows you to choose which thoughts get your attention and which ones don’t.
Meditation is a great option if you’re struggling to focus your mind and clear your head.
A growing body of research has shown that meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, improve attention, memory, self-regulation, empathy, and promote self-regulation.
Christine O’Shaughnessy is a Harvard mindfulness instructor. She says meditation is “like a workout for your brain…It keeps you brain healthy.”
How can you clear your mind by practicing it?
First, meditation will not instantly clear your mind.
You might find it more difficult to concentrate on your thoughts alone, which could lead to distractions.
Mark Epstein, M.D., states in his book Thoughts Without a Thinker that meditators quickly grasp the nature of the “monkey brain”:
The metaphorical monkey, like the undeveloped mind is always in motion. It jumps from one attempt to self-satisfaction into another, and from one thought to the next. People who meditate quickly grasp the concept of “monkey mind”, as they tune in to their inner psyches and the endless, often unproductive chatter of thoughts.
Meditation will have a lasting effect on your mind, and you will notice a more calm and controlled state of attention.
Here are 4 steps to help you get started with meditation
1) Choose a time and a place that is free from distractions and interruptions.
2) Be comfortable
You should find a position that is comfortable and relaxed for you.
Try to relax and be passive. Allow your mind to wander.
Accept your worries and thoughts, and then try to relax and be thoughtless.
4) Concentrate on a mental device.
A mantra is a simple phrase that you repeat over and over. You could also stare at a fixed object. Whatever the object, your goal is to keep your mind focused on it so that you can block out distractions and thoughts.
You’ll be able to dedicate 20 minutes each day to this task once you become proficient.
4) Breathing exercises
What attention do you give to your breathing?
If you are like most people, it probably isn’t a lot. Our bodies do most of the work and we forget about it.
This is my biggest mistake.
However, the quality and quantity of your air don’t just depend on the quality of the air. It also depends on how you breathe.
Many spiritual traditions pay great attention to breathing.
Recently, I discovered a collection of breathwork techniques from Ruda lande, a world-renowned shaman. These techniques have increased my energy, self-confidence, and personal power.
Ruda will be teaching a self-guided meditation that focuses on your breath for a limited period. It’s totally free.
It is available here.
Ruda Iande, however, isn’t your average shaman. He does all the things that shamans do like bang their drums or spend time with Amazon tribes. But he is different in one important respect.
Ruda makes shamanism relevant in the modern age.
Ruda’s breathwork class can help you boost your vitality and health in a natural way. There are no hidden fees and it’s completely free.
Here is a link to his class.
5) Type it out
Harvard Health Blog says that writing about emotions can help reduce stress and trauma.
Writing may be a good option because it allows you to think about and express emotions.
“Writing helps people organize their thoughts and give meaning to trauma experiences.
Writing has always been a way for me to slow down my brain and organize the information I have in my head.
Writing can be therapeutic as it allows you to express and understand your emotions.
Journaling allows you to express your emotions in a safe space. You are not going to be read by anyone.
It could be sad, angry, or both. Let it all out. Let those feelings out.
These are the questions to ask if you want to start journaling.
What are you feeling?
What’s my purpose?
What are you trying to do differently in your life?
These questions will help you understand your emotions and encourage you to think about the possibilities.
You have the ultimate responsibility for changing your life by writing down what you want to change.
It is liberating to realize that you are the one who holds the keys to creating a life of success. You don’t have to depend on others to make your life great.
Exercise is the best thing to do when you feel stressed. Exercise is one form of stress.
Research suggests that physical stress may be able to relieve mental stress.
Harvard Health states that aerobic exercise is important for your brain, as well as your heart.
Regular aerobic exercise can make a significant difference in your body, metabolism, heart rate, and spirits. It can exhilarate, relax, provide stimulation, calm, and counter depression. This is a common experience for endurance athletes. Clinical trials have shown that exercise can be used to treat anxiety disorders or clinical depression. Exercise can have psychological benefits for both athletes and patients.
Harvard Health claims that exercise reduces the body’s stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
It stimulates endorphin production, which is a natural painkiller and mood elevator.
A study from Ireland published in the journal Physiology + Behavior (2011) found that exercise increases brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) which is a protein responsible for the growth of new cells.
Researchers called it a form of cognitive enhancement.
You can still do a lot of exercises on Youtube, even if you are locked in your home and unable get out.
7) Live in the moment
Focusing on the task at hand is one of the best ways for your mind to clear. Living in the moment is a great way to clear your mind and improve your quality of life.
Harvard psychologists discovered that daydreaming was associated with lower happiness levels using an iPhone app called Track Your Happiness.
More than 2000 adults were surveyed periodically to determine what they were doing and whether their minds wandered.
The participants thought about something else for approximately half of the time.
The study found that “the ability to see what isn’t happening” is a cognitive achievement, but it comes with an emotional price.
According to the study, people who were less distracted by daydreaming and more focused on the task at hand were more likely be happier.
How can you teach your brain to be more present in the moment, so that you can clear your mind more efficiently?
David Rock, a neuroscientist, says that if you take small breaks throughout the day to concentrate on your senses (your breath, touch, etc.), your brain will “directly experience network” instead of your “default brain network”.
This is why micro-meditations are so effective to me.
Focusing on your breath throughout the day is key.
It is best to practice equal breathing. This means inhaling through your nose for 4 seconds, and exhaling for 4 second (similar to the above).
Breathing is an excellent way to relax. You can use this “micro-meditation”, during stressful or overwhelming times in your day, to improve your ability to face these feelings and situations. This will allow you to be more aware and calm.
Set up an alarm on the phone to remind you every hour. This will help make this a daily habit. It will become a habit faster if you keep doing it.
Mindfulness is like a muscle. To make it stronger, you must exercise.
(To learn more about how to live in the present and reduce stress, read my bestseller: The No-Nonsense Guide to Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy.
8) Get in touch with nature
Research shows that forest bathing, the act of relaxing in a wooded area, is a great way to reduce stress.
Irina Wen (Ph.D.), a clinical psychologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, says that “nature can be beneficial for your mental health.”
It can reduce cognitive fatigue and stress, and it can help with anxiety and depression.
David Strayer, a University of Utah cognitive psychologist, stated in The National Geographic that he believes being in nature allows prefrontal cortex, the brain’s command center to dial down and relax.
According to Strayer, neuroscience and psychology are beginning to show that green space is a place where there is “something profound happening”.
A study by the University of Medical School examined mental health data from over 10,000 city dwellers. After adjusting for a variety of factors, they found that those who live near green spaces reported lower levels of mental distress.
Researchers believe that nature functions primarily by lowering stress levels. Research has shown that even small amounts of nature can reduce stress hormones, respiration rate, heart rate, sweating, and other symptoms.
This is a simple suggestion that you can implement to help clear your mind.
Take the time to walk or spend some time in nature. While you are at it, you can also do the breathing exercises mentioned above.
Sometimes, you just need to replace a negative thought with a positive one and continue on.
Although it isn’t the best way to manage your thoughts, substituting one thought with another can help you tap into your inner thinking and make your life more productive.
It’s not like trying to put one foot in front the other. You have to start somewhere.
You can start to retrain and retrain your thoughts rather than replacing them.
If you wish to clear your mind, you can replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. Positive affirmations can help you here.
A study has shown that your brain can be benefited by a personal mantra, a phrase you silently repeat to yourself.
The study was published in the Journal of Brain and Behavior. It found that silently repeating positive mantras “quiets” the mind and decreases self-judgment.
The research study shows:
“The pattern in neural activity that makes up your silent thought becomes more easy to conjure over the course of time and becomes more effective in countering negative feelings or thoughts.”
If you find that negative thoughts are creeping into your mind, try replacing them with positive ones.
These are some personal mantras you can use whenever you feel the need.
“I love me.”
“Nothing is bad.”
“I can meet limited circumstances with limitless ideas.”
“I’m willing to see it differently.”
“I do everything I can to make it a success.”
Sometimes, it’s okay not to think about it and just let it go for a bit.
If you feel overwhelmed or need more space and time to get through the issues, or are not in the right frame of mind to deal with them at the moment, you can put them aside and focus on something else until your time is up.
It’s like trying to manage thoughts before you’re ready. It doesn’t work.
For a brief time, people can use suppression to manage their emotions, such as fear, depression and anxiety.
A 1994 academic paper stated that one way to suppress thought is to simply say “stop” aloud, or make a sound.
This method has been shown to be moderately effective, according to research. This is not going to work if you want total victory over your thoughts.
Distraction is the best way to suppress thoughts. If you hear an unwelcome thought, stop it and focus on something else.