Clearing your mind
Finding ways to clear your mind not only helps you achieve a more balanced, focused life, it will also allow you to relax through stressful moments. There are many different techniques for learning to exercise your brain in this way. We are going to look at a few different ideas to help you focus and relax so you're more alert and aware of your surroundings and the ability to finish your daily tasks.
Simple meditation can involve focusing on something very intently as a way to stay in the present moment, while turning off your internal thoughts. Many people find this type of meditation easier to practice than other more classical forms where you focus on absolutely nothing. In this form, you can choose to focus on anything that involves your five basic senses and even your own breathing. To start, use these easy tips:
- Choose a focus. A sound, scent or visual selections are easy choices. Using things like the tick of a secondhand on a clock, a metronome, a pleasant candle scent or a picture that is not too detailed or busy are great starting places.
- Relax your body. Find a comfortable position and let your external thoughts be pushed out of your brain with every beat of your heart. As those thoughts leave, let the blood flow into each part of your body one by one until you feel at ease and completely relaxed.
- Let your attention now drift to your target and take in the sounds, smells and sights associated with it. The idea is to experience it, being fully present in the moment, not to think about it.
- If you start to "think" about your target, or begin to focus on anything else, such as your work day, your future, what you're making for dinner, or anything else, push yourself to turn your attention back to your target so your mind can stay clear and quiet.
- Have patience with yourself. Start with short sessions, five to ten minutes and work your way up to more. Don't expect to do this exercise perfectly from the beginning. This will only increase your stress rather than relieve it and this type of meditation becomes easier and more effective after time. If this exercise doesn't work for you. There are a couple other short exercises we are going to share in order to help you too.
- Sit in a comfortable straight chair and focus on sitting completely still. Center your attention on stopping involuntary muscle movement. It's easier said than done and trying it for 5 minutes the first time and working up to more is advisable. Never strain your muscles to stay still, but rather relax each muscle. This exercise helps you focus on a target, your body, and is short enough that most people can do it effectively. It not only will help you concentrate better, you'll feel more relaxed and refreshed.
- Lie down on a comfortable, private surface area where you can be at peace. Focus your thoughts on the beating of your heart as your blood works its way into your arms, legs, fingers and toes. As it pushes into every portion of your body, let the muscles in that area relax until your entire body is at ease and almost in a state of hibernation. You'll be completely aware of your surroundings without letting them affect you.
- Avoid drinking caffeine and stimulants that keep the brain active. When you are trying to clear your mind, you need to help your body relax by taking deep breaths.