Too much thinking can be the very obstacle that stops you from getting what you want. It causes stress, blocks creativity and constricts the mind. So whether you need to calm down for public speaking, allow yourself to be more creative, or just stop your mind whirring so you can get some sleep – it is good to know how to flick the “off” switch. This allows your mind to settle and rest or connect to a more resourceful / creative state that lies deeper in our mind.
Long term, the best way is through the practice of meditation as this creates a constant calm mind. But for now, here are 3 powerful ways for you to temporarily “flick the off switch” of your mind.
You may have tried telling your mind to “shut up”, and found that it doesn’t work. A mind cannot be prodded with angry thoughts and be expected to quieten down. Instead, you can change the subject of the mind to something that does not stir up the emotions, and then let it settle itself. You could think of something peaceful (like a calm ocean). Alternatively, you could try to think of something shocking. A shocking thought is a powerful way to quickly replace the current thoughts. You then have a good chance to move the mind on again to what you want it to be doing. The best shocking thought is a very sobering thought. Death is very sobering, especially if you clearly visualise the dead bodies. As are all types of suffering. Be careful not to make the sobering thought too personal, as it may draw you in and cause you to get stuck on yet another mental track. If the thoughts are too difficult to think about, then try something less personal, or something in the future – but the more shocking the thought is, the better it works. Stay with the thought for a minute or so until the previous subject (the one you were unwillingly stuck on) has gone. Then move on to what you want your mind to do.
Some meditations work on the power of a mantra – or repeated set of words that you say over and over again. To some degree, this is because the mind must become aware of what your mouth is saying, so if forgets what it was thinking about. However, the main reason that saying mantras works to still the mind, is because they act as a trigger for your unconsious. The repetition of familiar words triggers your mind to break out of the current pattern. The more you practice this, the more powerful the trigger becomes. You can say something like “My mind is becoming still” or “Drop it” or, if you would like to use an ancient Tibetan mantra you can say “OM AH RA PA TSA NA DI” which is associated with the Buddha of Wisdom.
The body is linked closely with the mind, so movements of the body can affect the mind. Did you know that your eyes move in certain directions when you think certain types of thoughts? They move up to visualise something, sideways to recall sounds, and down when you are feeling something. So if your eyes are looking up it is harder to have feelings or talk to yourself. Therefore, a physical trick to reboot your mind, is to move your eyes up and down and into the corners, holding them for a second or two in each place! Move your eyes up more than any other direction, as this is where the strongest “rebooting” occurs. Try it and see how it works. This can also reportedly stop the hiccups!
Finally, there is a longlasting and powerful technique to still your mind, which is associated with meditaton. If you wish to learn more about this technique, please visit our Meditation Class Directory to find a Class in your area.