Self Development By Mae Davies / March 7, 2015 Are you finding it hard to relax or get sleep at night as your mind is running amok thinking nonstop? Fifteen years of schooling (and for some, it’s more) trained us to constantly be ‘on our feet,’ ‘think fast,’ and be ‘switched on.’Unfortunately, the curriculum didn’t include courses on how to ‘switch it off,’ unless you’re attending a Buddhist monastery…. If you’re suffering from an overactive mind, below are practical steps that can help you find the switch and quiet your mind whenever you want to enjoy some peace: 1. Give it a name Yes, as soon as you’ve identified the ‘monkey mind,’ the one that thinks nonstop and mostly repetitive unproductive thoughts, give it a name. It doesn’t matter what you name it; when you name it, for example, ‘Peanut’ the more you can disassociate from it and realize that it is not you but only a part of you. You should be the one in control of your mind and not the other way around, so just ask ‘Peanut’ to keep quiet so you can focus on something else, or tell Peanut that you are going to sleep soon, so it should retire as well…. 2. Do something unexpected Whatever your daily grind looks like, break the routine by doing something unexpected like choosing a different route going to work or stopping somewhere and spending a few minutes there exploring the place. This will stop your mind from always being on ‘auto pilot’ mode and engage all your senses instead. 3. Be in nature Go out, smell the fresh air, go barefoot, and feel the grass on your feet. Connecting with nature will relax you and ease any tension and anxiety.When going out, refrain from bringing gadgets with you; use all your senses and observe your surroundings. Smell the flowers, listen to birds chirping, and feel the breeze on your skin. Really immersing yourself in natural surroundings will connect and anchor you to the present. 4. Get physical Run, jump, dance, or do anything that will get you sweating. Being physical will stop the mind chatter because your attention will move to the body. You will be ‘in your body,’ occupying your whole body as opposed to ‘living in your head.’If you don’t have time to work out or do any cardio activity, do this simple exercise recommended by Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author of The Power of Now: put one hand in front of you and observe it. Now, feel the life force energy running through it. When you feel it in your hand, notice how it runs through your whole arm. Those few seconds of just feeling the life force energy inside your body will quiet your mind. I love this simple exercise; it works every time for me! 5. Create Paint, bake, write, sew, knit, or anything you enjoy doing. Whether building a cabinet or making a scrapbook, whenever you do something creative, you will have a moment when you are ‘in the flow,’ a moment when you are completely absorbed in whatever it is you’re creating.Being creative engages our right side of the brain, the one associated with images and pictures and consequently making the left side of the brain, which is the monkey mind, to recede in the background. 6. Meditate More and more women are resorting to meditation nowadays as they find so many benefits of meditating. Most meditation techniques are designed to quiet your mind by going within. There are so many different ways and techniques, and there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Go with something simple if you are a beginner. Try this: find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and go within by simply observing your thoughts; don’t resist or quarrel with them. Just allow them to pass like a parade…. Then put your attention on your feelings, any sensation you may feel in your body. Then focus on a feeling or thought, put your attention on how you feel, and make an intention to silence the mind. Relax and let go of expectations; just be an observation and allow whatever happens to happen. Allow for at least 15 minutes; this should be enough if you are just starting. Most people are not even aware of the noise inside their heads; they are so lost in the chatter and have gotten so used to it that they just live with it. According to author Stephen C. Paul (and I totally agree with him), we should “remove the rock from our shoes instead of learning to limp comfortably.” We don’t have to live with a noisy mind; there is a switch to turn it on and off. Just as you’ve learned to always keep it on, we can train ourselves to quiet your mind.