Calm your mind and banish Intrusive thoughts
Daily life, the rush of things, never-ending responsibilities, overstimulated emotions, and racing mind can very quickly become a major stressor. An overloaded and anxious mind tends to get entangled in a vicious cycle of rumination. Intrusive thoughts are coming back like a boomerang every minute of the day, especially bothers your mind at night… causing more stress, poor sleep or lack of sleep whatsoever. Stubbornly refuse to go away…
So how can I calm my thoughts, stop negative thinking and quiet my mind?
Here are 7 proven ways that will boost your pursuit of calm:
#1 Get in the Role of an Observer
#2 Improve your Body Awareness
#3 Add Autogenic Training To Your Me-Time
#4 Use The Hawkins Release Technique
#5 Become a “Writer”
#6 Identify the Triggers
#7 Give Your Thoughts Back
In this article, you will find ways to help yourself calm anxious thoughts and deal with truly intrusive thoughts — over-analysis, negative body image, night-time anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, self-sabotaging and negative beliefs.
Sometimes our mind can play tricks on us. Even emotionally stable individuals may experience difficulties in controlling anxious feelings and mental chaos in some situations.
Photo by Sam Lion | Pexels
A calm mind is… a wise choice! In fact, it’s really a choice and practice.
Most probable now you hear your mind screaming, “That’s B** S***. I didn’t choose any of this. It just doesn’t want to go away! “.
It’s challenging to be fully responsible for your life. Nobody and anything to blame. Only you and your choices… and opportunities.
Where is promised wonderland?
Start by choosing one or two techniques. Implement it, master it and make a habit.
#1 The role of an observer
Photo by Sam Lion | Pexels
You are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are not you!
Make a decision to give up on identifying with your thoughts. This alone can bring tremendous relief to a worried mind.
Imagine that you are the sky. Your thoughts are free-flowing clouds. Observe them and let them pass. This is important! The sky does not fight the clouds. The sky is the sky – that is, something separate from the clouds.
It’s the same in case your thoughts. You see your thoughts. You hear your thoughts. You are not your thoughts.
Your thoughts are none of your business. You can let them live their own lives while you go about your own business. Seem counterintuitive?
Practice this approach, and you will surely see results. Don’t underestimate this technique. It’s powerful in its simplicity.
Though at first, it may not be as easy as it sounds.
PRO tip: to make it easier to become an observer is naming what you see as:
“There is a thought that …”.
You are tired of unpaid bills. Those nagging unpleasant thoughts consistently keep coming back “I work only for bills”, “Again I have to pay for … Every month is the same. They want more and more”,
If you notice it, change the approach to “Ok, there is a thought that there is a need to spend money, there is a thought that an errand has to be dealt with ”.
Sound much easier, is it? By simply naming – things, thoughts, events – and leaving them unassessed, we take all the unnecessary responsibility of identifying ourselves with the situation.
#2 Train body awareness
Photo by @thiszun | Pexels
What is body awareness training? It’s awareness of the position, feeling and movement of body parts. Trained by the deliberate intensive focus on the sensations flowing from the body. What with time will strengthen the conscious connection with your own body.
Picture your mindfulness is 100%. If you are only in your mind all the time, you are totally consumed by your thoughts. Spending whole energy analyzing what is going on in your head.
To hijack it, focus on the body! Start with choosing one body part to work with. It’s totally up to you – neck, face, feet, arms, knees, belly. When you chose to focus on this one part to feel as much as possible. Focus on touch. Feel every cell of your body touching something.
Look for pleasant sensations in the body. See how nice it feels!
It’s easy to notice it on the example of a face, especially outside on a sunny day. You feel the sun’s rays touch your face. Wind bouncing off the skin… and then you can go deeper and deeper seeing how it looks on your cells.
Instead of constantly watching what is happening in your head, turn your attention to the body! Divide that 100% on your “head” and body. Even if you redirect focus just for part of your time to the body. You take off a tremendous weight from yourself.
More you feel the body, the fewer thoughts you will have.
Being aware of your body is quite a challenge! But you can make it. Practice, it will become easy.
#3 Add autogenic training to your me-time
Calm body = Calm mind.
And not many things relaxes the body as much as autogenic training. This ‘training’ does not require any weights, equipment or even mat. It does not require any movement at all too.
Autogenic training is easy and deep relaxation techniques that regenerates and calms the body. Quite similar to deep sleep. However, you maintain your consciousness and awareness awake, clear, smooth with thought-free state.
Unwanted thoughts disappear, and you can enjoy a calm state of mind. At the same time, You learn how a relaxed mind works that will make it easy to transfer your new self-calming skills to daily life.
During training, you lie down in a quiet spot to not be disturbed. And piece by piece you relax your whole body by moving the focus between particular parts of the body (feet, ankles, calves, thighs etc.). This method blends progressive muscle relaxation with breath focus.
For starters, to better understand this technique, use videos like the one below. Just put on the headphones, wrap yourself in a nice blanket and relax your mind!
Do a regular practice from it—best every day for a longer period of time. Try at least 21 days. Especially if you have a stressful and intense lifestyle.
Video by Dr. Michael Olpin - Topic | Youtube
#4 Use the Hawkins Release Technique
Allow yourself to focus on your emotions, knowing that your thoughts are a consequence of emotions. So the emotions you carry within you largely affects the nature of the thoughts you have.
You probably noticed and proved yourself many times that thoughts never end. They fuel themselves and only generate more thoughts.
Thoughts are rationalizations of your mind that tries to explain the presence of feelings.
The real reason for what you are feeling in the moment is built-up tension hidden behind emotions that press to be released at that moment.
Thoughts or external events are merely pretexts made up by the mind.
If we let go of a feeling and completely release it, usually all thoughts associated with it disappear – conclusions replace them, and that is the end of the problem.
How to release the feeling? Focus on the feeling, and don’t resist it! Invite it even more. More fear, shame, stress … Sounds scary? Remember you are sky! And these feelings and thoughts are just one of the clouds.
Let yourself feel the emotions rising within you. Don’t change anything in it, don’t do anything – just watch. Let yourself feel it.
That’s concerns both positive and negative thoughts.
Let it flow freely. Allow yourself to feel it and focus on releasing the energy behind it. And let go of the urge to resist it. Resistance keeps the feeling going.
When you stop resisting or trying to change it, it will move on to the next feeling and be accompanied by a milder sensation.
The irresistible feeling will disappear as soon as the energy that drives it is exhausted. It’s an easy and powerful tool.
Many psychotherapists practise this method in different forms. Marisa Peer multi-award-winning British therapist, advise letting yourself experience the feeling as soon after the moment it happened as possible. She does not say you have to face and battle every war. On the contrary, be smart. You don’t need to fight the whole world. You can excuse yourself to the toilet and get the moment to acknowledge the feeling as it’s all that many human emotions need. They need to be noticed and recognise as they are. That’s all it takes for them to go away.
Video by London Real | YouTube
#5 Become a "writer"
Julia Cmeron popularised an excellent method called ‘Morning pages’. Designed to remove creativity blocks. It appeared to have much broader use than expected. The idea is straightforward. Every morning, you write 3 pages of your thoughts. Everything you think as you think, no moderations. You don’t care about mistakes, or how pretty is your handwriting. You write fast. If you do not know what to write… you write precisely that. The point is to write your raw thoughts.
Why 3 pages? First is easy. Second slightly more difficult. However, it moves you into action. Third page and every next invites self-obsession. It’s a little bit like your visit to the therapist. You say “I don’t know… it’s just like that” – it’s your first page, before you were asked many times WHY and got to your third page.
Those notes are only to your eyes. The biggest problem is to write honestly, whatever pops to your mind. As some things may seem disturbing to you, and you do not want anybody to read them. You can shred it to pieces and burn or through away if you think anybody could invade your privacy and read it.
Morning pages aren’t for writers or artists only. Method helps you to clean out the junk that goes on and on in your head and gives you more clarity about your life and peace of mind. From that, anyone can benefit.
Video by LittleCoffeeFox | YouTube
You can think about “Morning pages” as Abraham Lincoln about his unsent “Hot letters” that nowadays is a well-known writing technique.
Why Hot letters (aka angry letters)? When Lincoln got angry or frustrated with somebody, he sat and wrote all of his anger down in form of a letter to a particular person he was mad at.
Luckily or not, non of these letters were sent, because quite many people would get a good lecture.
Once his complaints and feelings were out of his mind. Expressed in writing on paper, he could move on with a clean head and calmer emotions that didn’t influence his other decisions.
How many times have you hit a sent button on a spicy message or fired up the conversation because somebody needed a little talking-to?
Writing helps to remove unnecessary stuff from your head – from remembering all grocery list to writing about how pissed you were during the day. Everything that does not have to stay in your mind should be written down. That signals your mind that it does not need to worry about remembering it as it safely notes down and can be forgotten now. It may seem silly, but you will notice how big a difference that makes on you after a week or two.
You can write on your computer or phone if you have to. But there is nothing better than pen and paper.
Writing is an affordable therapy you can make for yourself. It works like talking it out without shame, guilt, censoring your thoughts and caring if what you have to say will hurt anybody or worse – use against you. So you’re skipping the gambling if the person you talk to is trustworthy.
Video by Amy Landino | YouTube
#6 Identify the triggers
Your daily life affects your thoughts in many ways. First and the most obvious, your thoughts are circling around what is currently happening. You can think about an actor playing in the movie you are watching, about what you are going to cook, when your amazon package will arrive, or talk to yourself that finally, you would like to be understood. Of course, what’s new here.
But from time to time, every person experiences, thoughts triggered by something external… it can be a place, smell, event, anniversary even face of a person that reminds someone else from the past or reading a news article. If your mood suddenly change, you feel sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety, sentimental, your muscles got tense. Observe and listen to your thoughts. Note it. Note what you suspect triggered that sudden change. A mental note is ok, but a physical notebook or note on your phone is even better. Add info about your day and mood. Over time, when you see similar thoughts emerging, go back to those notes and look for patterns.
These thoughts may have occurred when you had more free time or saw a violent movie or colleague. Tracking these trends may help you pinpoint the problem to solve the root cause.
Video by Mel Robbins | YouTube
#7 Give your thoughts back
That may sound religious, but it isn’t. Whatever you believe or do not believe, adjust it to your own conviction.
If you have extremely unpleasant thoughts, a good way to deal with them is handing them over straight to Source / Universe / God / Enlightenment / Your option.
Trust your higher intelligence and just intentionally entrust whatever you are not dealing with into the field of consciousness called Universe / God / Source / Your higher self / … .
Sometimes we don’t know what to do with certain types of thoughts, so if you are overwhelmed even when you are just trying to observe them, go straight to something bigger than your conscious.
Ask to transform these energies. Trust that you and those thoughts are safe. The Universe knows what to do with it, and you can relax. It’s, after all… none of your business! You can stop caring and just trust.
ALTERNATIVE, if you are a non-believer and you didn’t find an alternative for yourself … go for your imagination. Imagine that you close your negative thoughts in a suitcase no matter the size can be small one can be bigger than you… let your imagination flow. Then you find yourself next to a really big cliff or mountain, and you walk with this suitcase. Walk, walk, walk … go to the edge and let it fall. You are staying safe with your two feet on the ground.
You can see it from the top, through your own eyes (1st person view). You can see it from the third-person perspective, from the drone, from the bottom, you can observe it from the side how it fall and crash or disappear into the forest on the bottom… Your call. One disclaimer you may be up to big surprise if you stop forcing your mind to replay some scene you carefully wrote scenario to and let your imagination play it for you. Repeat it at least a few times – as many times as you need. It may not work in a single 2 minutes session. Be patient. Give yourself time.
Photo by Monstera | Pexels
It all goes back to those cliche pieces of advice – regular practice mindfulness, living and mindfulness meditation, deep breaths or breathing exercises even better, yoga aka those series of postures that everybody are so enthusiastic about… Just in version 2.0, have some fun with those relaxation techniques. That’s not the next chore, neither work. Put your mind to it, and you will notice many health benefits as anxiety relief. You will develop more positive feelings and calmer joyful mental images.