Do you ever have those moments when your child shares an important detail about a school project, or your boss was talking to you about an upcoming presentation, and when they finish speaking you realize you have no idea what was just said? Throughout that entire time your mind was everywhere but in the conversation happening in front of you.
You were thinking about how you were going to squeeze in a trip to the market before dinner because your fridge was empty. Or maybe you remembered that weird noise coming from the washing machine that reminded you to call the repairman.
A busy mind is something a lot of us deal with between our full lives and demanding schedules, which have made multitasking the norm. But what happens when you’re too caught up planning for things in the future, or remembering things from the past that you miss the very important details in front of you? You’re missing out on your life.
While every moment may not be 100 percent all in, with a little effort you can clear your mind so you are more present for what’s going on in front of you.
Here are five things you can do to clear your mind.
You may already be familiar with the runner’s high when your endorphins kick in and you feel like you’re floating through the air rather than pounding the pavement. Well, before those endorphins set in there’s a point when your mind becomes totally focused on the activity — your run — and it consumes your attention, which releases the other thoughts. By focusing only on one thing, you’re wiping a clean slate for the brain.
2. Take a Walk
If running doesn’t feel good for your body, walk instead! This is an excellent activity for when you need to clear the mind, and make space for your creative juices to flow. The simple act of getting outside and feeling the fresh air will permeate your senses and open a pathway for your thoughts and worries to melt away.
3. Get Out in Nature
If you have the option to connect with nature, this is a beautiful way to clear the mind. You don’t even have to move your body — simply sitting by the ocean and watching the waves, or feeling the wind in your hair will be a good reminder of just how small we (and our problems) are in relation to the rest of the world. Sometimes our minds just need a perspective shift to clear.
For those times when it feels like your mind is racing into overdrive, don’t keep it bottled up in your head! By putting it down on paper, you’re giving yourself a dedicated time and space to think about these things, which allows you to see your thoughts more clearly. The goal is to have full sheets of paper and a mind with less clutter.
Initially, mediation will trigger your thoughts to go wild. The act of sitting still and doing nothing highlights a mind that won’t quit. But similar to how writing gave you a place to put your thoughts, meditation creates space between your thoughts so that you’re paying less attention to each thing as it passes through your mind. Using a single point of focus, like your breath, will help to keep your awareness steady, which will enable your thoughts to slow down.
These activities will work wonders for clearing the mind, and the more often you do them, the easier it will be to keep your focus in the conversation that’s happening in front of you so you won’t miss out on your life.
How do you like to clear your mind? —Elysha