Quieting the Busy Mind

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“For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.” ~Larry Eisenberg

quiet manMany people are bothered by their own busy minds. Often racing thoughts create anxiety and interfere with a good night’s sleep. Sometimes it is hard to fall asleep because of constant thinking. Other times one wakes in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep due to churning thoughts.

The problem is an inability to discipline or control the mind. Like a blaring radio or television, we are unable to find the “off” switch. Some feel they are victims of the ongoing stream of negative or worry thoughts, and simply have to live with them.

However, we can learn to control our minds, but it does take practice. After a lifetime of listening 24/7 to a busy inner voice, it takes time to change that habit.

The first step is knowing that we can learn to control our thoughts. The second step is actually doing it. To begin the process of taking charge of our minds we can practice what is called “thought stopping.” When you find your mind going over and over the same thing, or simply starting to focus on something that creates discomfort, you can say to yourself, “stop!” You may have to force yourself to think of something else, even if it means counting by threes to one hundred or saying the alphabet backwards

This may work for a little while, but you then may find the thoughts coming back. Simply repeat the thought stopping process. The more you practice, the easier it becomes.

You start to recognize when your thoughts are having a negative impact on your mood, and can stop the process before it gets too far along.

Thinking about how to solve a problem is productive. Worrying or thinking of worst-case scenarios is not. Going over and over what someone said or did that was upsetting only makes one more hurt or angry.

Peace of mind is not something that comes only when everything is right in our world. We can create it by giving the mind a rest; allowing it to become like a still pond, rather than a choppy sea. We can do this, even in difficult times. No matter what we have to deal with in life, we do a better job of it is we can remain calm. It is all in the head.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

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