Too much thinking, racing thoughts, mulling things over and over and over…
Can’t sleep… Stunted work productivity…
My nerves are shot!
Whether in your daily life, or even in your dreams, are you creating too many chaotic and random thoughts?
Does your love life suffer because of your endless mind-stressing ruminations?
Is this a familiar yet disturbing pattern for you?
Let’s start by looking at a few reasons why your poor nerves have been stretched to the limit:
The Narcissistic Society
It’s no secret that we live in a society that pushes materialism and unabashedly celebrates the overblown ego.
It’s all over the place; the veritable parade of scientifically calculated commercials, where fantasy about the “good life” overflows into our heads. We’re inundated with unrealistic ideas about money, and notions of the perfect mate and family, routinely prescribed to us by perfect strangers, on a daily basis.
It’s an “all about me” mindset that commonly keeps the stream of thoughts percolating and our minds perpetually set on overdrive.
Our Fear-Based Culture
And what about our culture of fear?
Whether exposed to a plethora of fictional murders on a popular prime time T.V. show, or a few minutes of random violence and disturbing war reports spewed out over the airwaves, the amount of fear produced can be overwhelming.
Our communities (and our psyches), are becoming over-run with crime, dismal scenes of poverty, and tragic tales of financial ruin.
With this kind of constant bombardment to the brain, how is it remotely possible to calm ourselves?
So, it’s no wonder why our minds become so frantic and overwrought!
It’s no wonder why we can’t sleep at night and why we drive our loved ones nuts with our habitual perturbations!
What to Do?
Okay, so I’ve listed some of the troubling “whys” of the problem.
But, is there really a solution to be found here?
What can you do to banish this crazy, irrational, fear-based kind of thinking, once and for all?
Here’s my short list on ways to calm the ruffled mind:
1. Use discretion with media
The all-powerful and manipulative media: radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and the internet. Can’t argue with this influential and imposing contemporary reality (unreality), right? After all, it’s all around us and difficult to ignore.
But, when it comes to all this omnipotent “noise,” you might be wise to use discretion, and protect your mind from the daily tsunami of information, which, at the end of the day, can unfortunately lead you down the rocky road to mental fatigue and sleepless nights!
Therefore, it’s critical to unclutter your mind from all those messages of what to buy, how to look, and all those depressing (and often inaccurate) news stories. Who needs it?
Some would say, throw your television out the window! Turn off the damn radio for good!
I’m not so sure that going to such an extreme is necessary, but, you might want to limit the amount of news your take in, and maybe even make it a habit to mute all the commercials – anything to calm your mind.
Whether you think you have the time or not, it’s always a good idea to practice the art of meditation, that is, if you want to experience a degree of inner tranquility.
But you say, “I can’t sit still for that long! I just can’t get all those thoughts out of my mind!”
You might think that your overactive mind is no match for meditative practice. But it is – if you can muster the discipline of daily practice and the few minutes it takes to truly relax the mind.
The good news is that there are many forms of meditation to choose from: sitting meditation (following the breath), moving meditation (Tai Chi), mantra-meditation (TM), etc.
For me, tennis and playing the piano are both effective forms of meditation, and always helps me to achieve a sense of “inner peace.”
So, I encourage you to look around and experiment with whatever form of meditation that might work for you.
3. Curb the Ego
Who am I?
What am I?
What is my true essence?
Is there an “I”?
So much has been written about the ego and how it mires us in the illusion that keeps us separated from one another. Some say that we need to lose the ego once and for all, if we truly want to understand and experience the unity of all beings.
Although I do believe that we’re all ultimately connected to one another, I’m not so convinced that Freud’s ego-concept is completely pointless or ultimately useless.
I believe that there is a need for ego in our lives, so we can function in the day-to-day world – just not an oversized one!
So, we need to curb the ego, to keep “it” in check, but not necessarily completely negate or remove “it.”
One way to curb the ego is to let go of the need to control and practice empathy, so we can live humbly and realize our ultimate connectedness to each other.
Then, once we come to this spiritual realization, our minds can naturally move to a tranquil place of inner serenity – and we’re able to be present in that stilled state of calmness.
4. The Temple of the Soul
They say that the body is the “temple of the soul,” and I think it’s true.
Too many of us are just not taking good enough care of our “temples,” and therefore experiencing heavy amounts of inner strife and paralyzing anxiety.
Everything, from too much sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and unnatural GMO’s, make our minds way too active.
The emotional weight of excessive conflicts and fighting with loved ones wears the body (and the mind) down.
The solution is fairly simple: pay attention to your body, whether through exercise, sleeping when needed, eating healthy food, and practicing non-violent communication – then the calmer mind will follow and thankfully become your daily reality.
5. Seek a Balanced Life
Work, work, work…
Play, play, play…
A well-balanced life is a must for a calmer mind.
I can’t tell you how many clients I see that have seriously unbalanced lives. They think they’re doing well when they’re working 90 hours a week. Sure, they’re making money, but their home life is all shot to hell, and they’re continuously exhausted.
Then, there’s the ones who’re parked in front of their T.V.’s and computers from sun up to sundown. They have no social lives to speak of, and they don’t sleep well.
Even those people whose ears are endlessly plastered to their cellphones – the ones who think they have a full social life – they never sleep!
So, there’s a time for work, a time for play, a time to live, and a time to… Well, you know what it says in the Bible and so beautifully reinforced by that classic 60’s Byrd’s song, “Turn, Turn, Turn”.
So, strive for a better-balanced life, and chances are, you won’t be so high-strung and irritable – you’ll sleep better, too!
6. Reposition your life.
So you don’t like your lifestyle and that lousy job that you just can’t stand?
Or maybe you’re done with the over-crowdedness and stifling pollution of the big city?
Are endless thoughts of money issues taking you over?
Well, you might want to consider changing your lifestyle, your job, your home, the way you think about money, or other equally pressing issues.
Nobody says that you have to stick with a life that just doesn’t “do it” for you.
By working for positive change on a daily basis, your thoughts don’t have to have such a frenetic hold on you. With that new-found freedom, possibilities emerge, as the treadmill of fear and obsession steadily grinds to a halt.
So, by doing those things that will truly soothe you, not giving into the media, letting go of control, curbing that ego, fearing less, you’ll experience true inner peace.
Now breathe deeply and let the calmness settle gently into your precious soul…
Ah, that’s better…
These are only some ways to calm your mind. Do you have others? If you do, please share them in the comments section below – and don’t forget to breathe…
And f you’re wondering how to apply these principles for relationship success, look no further. My book, Honeymoon Forever, dives deep into this topic.