It’s important to know how to clear your mind, but not many of us know how to consciously do it. We just get caught up in the muck and noise of every day life.
If there’s anything that I dislike, it’s being barraged by an onslaught of irrelevant, negative, overwhelming thoughts. I personally think that all this technology has something to do with it. We have so much stimulation in our lives, at the touch of a button. Even when we are out in the great outdoors enjoying nature there are endless videos, GIF’s, facebook and twitter posts that are as far away as our pocket. Compared with 100 years ago or even 10 years ago, the amount of time we go without stimulation has shrunken drastically, not to mention the high level of stimulation we are accustomed to today as opposed to way back when.
When you have things like this, bells and whistles blasting all over the places, so much going on all you can do is surrender and let the noise take over, it’s more likely that we are accepting of high levels of stimulation in other areas of our lives, whether we intend to or not.
It’s my belief that videos such as the one above and videos/social media/commercials/etc. all over the world have imposed a subconscious standard, where we are so used to the stimulation that it bleeds into all areas of our lives, mainly our thoughts.
In the eastern world, they call it the monkey mind. It’s called this because your mind is constantly bouncing around screaming, yelling, and doing anything to get your attention and distract you. But when was the last time you quieted the monkey mind and just sat in silence?
If you haven’t done this in a while, and especially if you don’t even know what I’m talking about, then this article is for you. Here are a few things I do to clear my mind and enjoy the silence.
Go Out Into Nature – Without Your Phone
I really enjoy all 3 methods of clearing my head in this article, but nature is by far my favorite. Do yourself a favor today and go outside without your phone today. I know it’s tough, but just do it. Walk around and just soak everything in. See what you notice, and see what you appreciate. Engage your senses. If you really want to enhance the experience you should take your shoes off. If you live in a big city, I understand if you don’t want to, but if you are in an area where there is an abundance of plant and animal life, something about taking your shoes off just helps you to experience it more.
Here are some of the things I really enjoy during my time with nature:
- cool grass on my bare feet
- the wind in my face
- hearing the wind blow the leaves in the trees
- watching distant trees sway
- hear the birds chirping
- watching birds dive into a lake, bringing up fish and flying away
- smelling fresh cut grass
- touching different plants and feeling their textures
These are just a few, I could go on all day. These may seem a little weird to you, but it’s amazing what you can discover once you take your focus off of that little screen and take a break from the hustle and bustle pace that the rest of the world is a slave to.
You may have heard of this, Pranayama is basically a yoga breathing technique. Translated, it means “breath control”. The basic idea is to breath in a certain ratio, like 4:4:4:4 or 4:8:8:8.
4 Seconds Inhale, Hold 4 Seconds, Exhale 4 Seconds, Hold 4 Seconds, Repeat.
4 Seconds Inhale, Hold 8 Seconds, Exhale 8 Seconds, Hold 8 Seconds, Repeat.
I encourage you to set a timer on your phone and try this for 5 minutes. It may be difficult at first, but the idea is that you focus on only one thing: your breath. By doing this you are putting all of your attention on the rhythm of your breathing.
I have talked about getting in the zone before, and this is the best way that I have discovered to get into the zone. Once you get good and practice it a bit, you can go through a 10 minute session of Pranayama breathing, and it feels like 1 minute. You go into a meditative state where you lose track of time, and while you are focusing on your breath, your body and mind are letting go of those bothersome thoughts and replenishing your reserves of energy. It’s like a super nap. Instead of taking a 30 minute to 1 hour long nap, try a 10 minute pranayama session.
Afterwards you will feel refreshed and recharged, and you will be amazed at the level of peace and serenity you have achieved in your mind. This bleeds through to other parts of your day, allowing you to let go of distractions, focus, and take care of business without getting sidetracked.
Focus On Something Other Than Yourself
The two previous methods are aligned with this third piece of advice. The basic idea behind clearing your head is to get your focus off of yourself and the things you usually use to stimulate yourself, whether it’s the internet, netflix, youtube, music, or whatever. Nature gets you using your senses to enjoy the outdoors, while pranayama focuses on the natural rhythm of your breathing and puts you in a meditative state where you let go of your thoughts.
You can do this with pretty much anything, as long as it takes your mind off of yourself. My dad paints. My brother Wells makes music. Sometimes I play tennis. Reading is great too. Go fishing, play a sport, pick up a new hobby.
As long as you put some time in your day for you to enjoy something that involves as little thinking as possible, puts you in the zone, where you can forget about thoughts, the world, and time itself, chances are it will do a good job of clearing your head.
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