Thoughts are powerful, and most often, we don’t give them enough credit! They can be the influential force between our deep healing or on the opposite end of the spectrum, illness and disease. For this reason, it is SO imperative to cleanse our minds and reframe our beliefs daily. Here are 7 effective mind-clearing strategies towards that blissful & free mindset.
1) Catch the negative thought spiral:
Have you ever found yourself ruminating on a thought over and over? I mean, of course, you don’t mean to fixate. But, your mind simply keeps playing something it has ‘latched onto’, on repeat. Often these nagging thoughts are at the expense of something more positive and affirming. Start to take note of how many times a day your mind gravitates towards toxic thoughts, (warning – it can be just shocking!) A colleague said to me one day, ‘once I started counting, I was just ‘awe struck’ of how much mental space I was affording to negative thinking.’ Awareness of a habit is the first step to changing the pattern and inviting in clear, free mental space!
2) The mind-body connection:
Next, as you check in with that negative thought, pause for a body scan.
What do you feel in your body when your mind embarks on a negative spiral? For example, are your shoulders hunched forward? Are your hips clenching? You will start to see a connection between the emotional body and the physical pain body, these neural connections are POWERFUL. Checking in with the body as a messenger gives you a very effective tool for checking in on those sneaky thoughts. Release, relax and soften whatever part of your body is being tightly held and you are reminding your brain to do the same.
3) Acknowledge, don’t react:
Some mindfulness traditions explain how to treat your thoughts. As thoughts come up, rather than ‘stuffing them’ somewhere in the deep parts of your stomach or head, simply acknowledge them and then let them pass. One trick is to let the words you are thinking about literally float in front of you. Rather than ‘feeling’ and reacting to the thought as something ‘loaded’ that induces nausea or head pain, hold that thought in your mind and ‘watch it’ as something entirely neutral. YOU ARE THE OBSERVER. YOU ARE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN MIND. The words are there but they no longer hold power over your physical body. You are acknowledging, but not reacting.
4) A tool for letting go:
Many repetitive thoughts can take up a lot of our focus, sometimes at the expense of concentration, creation, and productivity. Maybe you are dwelling on a future outcome that won’t be coming to you for a long time. Maybe an occurrence or event didn’t go as you planned for or dreamed of. Purchase a sealable box/treasure chest that will hold the space for these things that do not serve you. Simply place the word or sentence that is represented into the ‘faith’ box and leave it up the universe, inviting in the highest possible outcome.
5) Lowering your expectations, changing your framing:
Lowering your expectations: Who else has a mile long to do list waiting at home? From reorganizing the sock drawer to fixing the loose handle on the back door, you likely feel like there is a vortex of ‘to-dos’. Pick a small handful of ‘to-dos’ each day to do and make each day’s list realistic. Say 5 (of the likely 87 to-dos). Commit to a manageable number that will make you feel productive and not overwhelmed. This leaves you feeling satisfied and with a little extra time to engage in something healthy and good for the soul! (E.g. some of the amazing ‘mental flossing’ meditation tools discussed below).
Changing your language: Language is everything. It has the power to attract amazing things as well as the power to sabotage our efforts and desires. Notice the difference between “I DON’T want to be tired versus I WANT to be energetic”, in the first one, you are still reinforcing the word ‘tired’ and creating a fear around what you don’t want to be and in the second you are focusing on your desires, a whole new energy.
6) Just gonna say it:
START ANYWHERE. Yep. If you haven’t started meditation or mindfulness yet because you are picturing that (burdensome?) one-hour commitment that is (in perfect silence on a silk cushion surrounded by the sound of birds), likely it is going to get pushed lower and lower on your to-do list.
To the contrary, if you just start where you are now, there is a much greater chance you will get consistent and continue to evolve your mindfulness practice. As an example, commit to 5 minutes on the subway, with headphones listening to the app called ‘Calm’ or taking 5 minutes before your lunch break to sit and enjoy quiet time outside. (We also love the tool called ‘Headspace’ which literally helps track your meditation improvement – who doesn’t love seeing tangible results?) PS. We are all about progress, not perfection.
7) Pulse points and channeling gratitude:
Last but not least, try lightly pressing your wrist pulse points. This point is located on the thumb side of your wrist. As you connect to the blood pulsing through your body, connect to the fact that YOU ARE ALIVE and take a moment of gratitude. On the opposite side of overwhelm, we remember how much we have to be grateful for.
This information does not substitute as medical advice. Speak with your healthcare provider before engaging in any new health practice.