Quieting the Mind – Slowing Mental Chatter
Easier said than done. It all begins with the breath. Relaxing the body, deeply, leads to a more quiet mind and reduces the distractions of fear, anxiety, and a body experiencing stress. Eastern philosophies ask to focus the mind a calming word/picture/concept (of a “higher ideal”) but this can require discipline and can be difficult for the Western (ADD) mental process. Zen can work because you can keep your eyes open and focus a natural beauty such as: waves on the beach, a stream flowing by, a candle (or fire) burning, or the breeze gently blowing the tops of grasses or trees. For people willing to “work” harder to learn to quiet the mind, you can repeat a mantra which is a word, or phrase, or higher ideal. The words: “Peace,” “Love,” and “Calm” can work well. Or, try using an image of a flower or a pleasant “Mandala” to focus and calm your mind. A powerful tool, which is worth trying, is to repeat “I AM” phrases as you breathe slowly. An example: I am at peace with myself and fully relaxed, or I am loved, or I am blessed…
There are many techniques for quieting your mind and you need to find the ones that work best for you.
If you enjoy being out in nature, try the Zen technique of soft focusing in a peaceful outdoor setting:
Slow your breathing
Let unnecessary thoughts drift out of your mind
Allow the calmness and beauty to fill your consciousness
Feel the warmth of the sun or listen for the peaceful sounds of nature
Bask in the beauty of your natural surroundings and remember these for meditation when at home
Or, if at home, consider the Zen focus upon a candle burning:
Allow thoughts to drift out of your mind
Slow your breathing
Find the peace from deep within you by feeling cool air as you inhale and warm breath as you exhale
Feel for your pulse to slow (and pulse can be felt into hands and feet when most relaxed)
It requires some time and practice to learn to quiet an active mind. The mental chatter can be a distraction which, in the beginning, can seemingly prevent peacefulness. Mental chatter will eventually slow and quite possibly become a source of useful information as you listen to the “stream of consciousness” flow through your mind.
Though this discipline can seem difficult to achieve the rewards and benefits are substantial. More about meditation and grounding will follow which will assist you in developing the best strategies, for you, to still your mind.
Audio Downloads: Relaxation series, or Panic/anxiety, or sleep, or pain management (http://dstress.com/products/specific-health-topics/)
Book Download: Breathing chapter, meditation chapter, stress management techniques