Do you wish you could just switch off from thinking about work and recharge your batteries instead of having your business on your mind all the time?
When you love what you do and you’re passionate about delivering a great service or product, it can be difficult to quieten the mind because you’re always coming up with ideas about what to do next, even when you’ve decided to take some time off.
And if you’re not thinking about ideas about what to do next and enhancing your offering, you’re probably finding yourself thinking about all the different moving parts and pieces that are involved in running a business and everything that needs to get done for each one.
You may be feeling like you’re never doing enough and thinking that you should always be doing more.
Perhaps you’re mulling things over and over again in your head as you go to bed. And as result, it can feel like your business is running your life when your monkey mind is in overdrive.
This can be exhausting, adding even more pressure and stress to your life, affecting your mood, making you anxious, unhappy or restless. I know because I’m also constantly trying to manage my own busy mind.
Here are seven very effective techniques that will help you tame your persistent brain chatter.
1. Write things down to clear the mind.
If you find yourself in bed or on a walk inspired with ideas or coming up with things you could do – write them down or voice record them on your phone. Getting things out of your head reduces mind clutter and the things that you need to remember.
Just this simple exercise, even if you don’t do a thing, will free up your mental capacity and give your mind headspace to think more clearly and stop mulling things over in your head.
2. Reduce information overload.
Nowadays, it’s so easy to be bombarded with information from everywhere. Sometimes, we actively collect it. In other cases, it’s being thrown at us. The idea being that this information helps us to solve different problems or issues that we’re facing.
But far too often, we’re trying to absorb a lot more information at any given time than we’re actually able to deal with and do something about it. So, we end up being overwhelmed by it all and not being able to stop thinking about it.
What could you postpone till another time?
What could you not learn/know about at all?
3. Mentally escape from the stresses of work and everyday life by taking active breaks.
Engage in hobbies you enjoy and that totally absorb you. Scientific experiments show that active breaks from your work rather than passive breaks are more effective because they play a bigger role in determining how much your mental and physical batteries are recharged.
The higher your level of detachment from work, the more restorative your time off. Hobbies such as playing chess, a musical instrument or drawing are active and engaging, offer opportunities for control and mastery and hence provide a psychological detachment from work.
Exercising is absorbing, boosts creativity and makes your brain healthier and relaxes the mind.
4. Be kind to yourself
Even when you’re not actively thinking about solving a particular problem, there is a part of your brain that continues to work on those issues in the background and comes up with solutions. This explains why when you relax or move away from your computer screen, ideas tend to pop into your head. So it’s not surprising that you may feel like you can’t stop thinking about work.
Understand that it’s in the nature of your brain to do that and be kind to yourself. Note down the ideas that have come up in your head as suggested in tip one – after all, you don’t want to forget those golden nuggets, do you?! Then, return back mindfully to what you were doing before. This way you won’t feel like work is taking over your break and hence your life.
5. Wind down at the end of the day
Put your electronic gadgets with LED screens away at least an hour before going to bed. This will help you to start switching off without actively engaging your brain, even if you think that you’re just mindlessly scrolling through social media or the news online.
Listening to relaxing music can calm our stress hormone noradrenaline. This soothes our night-vigilance, allowing us to drift off. What music has that effect on you?
6. Celebrate your achievements
Take a moment to appreciate what you’ve achieved during the day. Review what went well. Celebrate the wins. Celebrate the effort you put in, even if you don’t see the pay-off just yet.
We, humans, are programmed to be biased towards the negative and focus a lot more on what hasn’t happened and what we don’t have. We also tend to more easily dismiss our achievements and the positive things in our lives. Write down at least three great things that happened during the day.
7. End the day with 10 minutes of yoga nidra
When I first read the term yoga nidra, I instantly imagined myself on my blue yoga mat in the living room doing a downward dog. It turned out that there’s no need for a yoga mat and there are no traditional yoga positions involved, either.
Instead, it’s a mindful body scan starting at your feet and ending with your face. During this practice, you focus your attention on a particular body part, breathing in deeply, holding your breath for a moment and then breathing out slowly, releasing the stress and tension. This relaxes your body and mind, easing you off to deep sleep. Bonne nuit!
The more of the above practices you combine over time, the more effective you’ll be at quieting your mind. Some days, you’ll be able to manage the mind chatter better than other days, and that’s ok. It’s about being kinder to yourself.
Which one of the above practices will you give a go this week? Also, I’d love to know what’s your favourite tip to unwind?
Comment below and let me know!
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