5 tips to help calm your mind throughout the day
Do you struggle to relax and calm your mind? Do you have a lot of internal chatter? Are you easily distracted? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these then you’re definitely not alone.
Living in this busy modern society with constant distractions coming from our phones, the news, social media and being bombarded with information from the outside world, it can be really hard to relax your mind. This can result in headaches, stress, anxiety, sleep problems, negative thought patterns… the list goes on.
Adding a new mindful practice into your daily routine should never feel like a chore or too much of an effort. When a new practice becomes a habit or something you can do without thinking, then it can start to have a big impact on your day.
Here are a few of those practices that could help you to calm your mind throughout the day. Give them a try and see which one resonates for you:
If you don’t have a meditation practice then just focusing on your breath can really calm your mind and the nervous system down. Focusing on your breath can also really help you to become more present in the moment.
There are many breathwork techniques out there that you can explore. I discovered Inspirational Breathwork four years ago and found it life-changing. I immediately signed up to study with Nicola Price to find out what it was all about. The technique consists of a 2:1 breath pattern to improve physical and emotional health, it can be a very transformative experience and can aid in your personal self-development. I highly recommend joining a guided session, to begin with.
Below is an easy breathing technique that you can do anywhere, at any time of the day, or night to support sleep and can really help to relax your body and calm your mind.
This technique is known as 4-7-8 breathing:
- Find a comfortable seated position and close the eyes down
- Exhale completely
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth, aim to keep it there through the whole exercise
- Breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds
- Hold the breath for 7 seconds
- Then exhale through the mouth for 8 seconds (if you’re on your own you can make the exhale loud through pursed lips)
- Feel free to adjust to whatever suits your own breathing pattern e.g. 4-6-7 may feel more comfortable for some
- Repeat the cycle 4 times and try to notice any changes in the mind and body
Focusing on longer exhales triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, which influences our body’s ability to relax and calm down, rest and digest so long deep breaths are extremely beneficial for our health and wellbeing. It is a useful tool to have in your back pocket for those moments when you need to calm your mind.
Sound has been utilised for thousands of years as a tool for its therapeutic effects and as an aid in meditation. Research has shown that specific sounds and frequencies can lower blood pressure, decrease your heart rate and support the parasympathetic nervous system (where we rest and digest). Different sounds and frequencies enable us to bring our focus away from our thoughts and have the capacity shift us from waking state, known as Beta state, to a more creative and relaxed state, called Alpha and even to a Theta or Delta state where deep rest and regeneration happens. It is in these states of deep sleep and relaxation that your body goes into a self-healing mode and gives the opportunity for emotional and energetic blockages to be released.
Our bodies tend to dislike low-frequency sounds, such as a car horn or a noisy piece of machinery and enjoy high-frequency sounds, such as classical music or the sounds made by crystal singing bowls and other instruments. Singing bowls carry high-frequency vibrations which our bodies absorb like a sponge and have many benefits as described above.
If you haven’t tried a Sound Bath I’d recommend trying one; London now offers a wide variety of sound events with Gongs, Alchemy Crystal Singing Bowls, Tibetan bowls, harps and many more. Lying down for an hour and being bathed in pure sounds is so blissful and relaxing! At Sound Universe, we run monthly Sound Bath events in combination with breathwork and yoga.
Or if you’d like to recharge your mind and want to focus more at work, you could try listening to classical music by Mozart, Bach or Tibetian chants. Research shows that listening to classical music can help students to study and keep nerves under control when preparing for exams.
Meditation has been proven to help with stress, calming the mind, concentration, sleep and much more. Sitting down for just five minutes and meditating can make a huge difference to your state of mind. Anyone can meditate, it’s just finding the right style for you.
If you’re new to meditation I recommend trying an amazing (and free) app called Insight Timer, I’ve been using it for years. You set the time you want to meditate for to 5 – 30mins+ and you can choose a basic timer, to let you know when your meditation is complete, or you can choose from many guided meditations to support with anxiety, sleep, mindfulness or listen to meditation for beginners with someone guiding you the whole way through.
LISTENING TO MANTRAS
If you struggle to sit in silence, then listening to mantras can be very beneficial in meditation as they are known to easily relax the mind. Mantras can help with boosting memory, improving concentration, lowering stress, adrenalin levels, reducing blood pressure and the heart rate.
A mantra is essentially a sound and each sound has its own vibration, so when you chant a mantra you begin to absorb the frequency of that mantra. The vibrations of certain mantras can have healing effects, which work deep at a cellular level within our bodies.
It’s believed that there are around 70 million mantras. Each mantra has a different purpose – for love, prosperity, balance, health and abundance – so listen to some and see which resonate for you. Listening to a mantra or chant can put you into a state of meditation without even realising it. Next time you feel a little distracted and have a busy mind, try listening to a mantra for 10mins and notice the difference in your heart rate.
A favourite of mine is Om Mani Padme Hum (easily found on YouTube or Spotify), it’s said to invoke love and compassion, dissolving attachments and jealousy. Listening to or singing mantras repeatedly with the right intention will have the biggest impact, and is sure to help calm your mind.
SHORT WALKS IN NATURE
Try to take 10-15mins out of your day and go and spend time in nature. Take a short stroll with the intention to clear the mind and relax the body. Walk slowly and be mindful of every step you take, see how your feet feel on the ground. Have a little check-in with how you feel at this moment and if an area feels tense or tight breathe into it.
Take long deep breaths and close your eyes and feel the wind on your face.
When I’m feeling anxious or stressed by something, taking a walk always calms me down, even if it’s just for 10mins. Sometimes I just head to the local playground and go on the swings.
If you want to boost your mood a bit, jump in a puddle, hug a tree, scrunch some leaves under your feet, spread your arms wide and spin around and appreciate what nature has to offer.
Kate Stewart is a Reiki and Sound Practitioner. Kate’s personal journey of practising meditation, movement, breathwork, shamanic work and yoga helped her to overcome anxiety that she’d lived with from the age of 11. She has since made it her purpose to support and share these gifts with others.