Do you have a restless mind? Have you ever been unsure of what you would like to do for an afternoon and subsequently done nothing because you can’t decide?
When thoughts flood your mind, they drain your energy, stop you from living in the present moment, and can create a loop in your brain that feels difficult to escape. They can also make it harder to concentrate and accomplish daily tasks and impair your memory and sleep.
What is a restless mind?
A mind which has numerous thoughts flowing and is unable to segregate the chaos is a restless mind. One is unable to stay calm. The overthinking is the root cause of a restless mind.
The mind is very restless, turbulent, strong and obstinate. Lord, It appears to me that it’s more difficult to control than the wind. Bhagavad Gita 6.34
Why does our mind wander?
It’s the nature of the mind to wander. The mind goes here and there. Now the question is why? What is the nature of the mind to wander?
The nature of the mind is to find joy, happiness, comfort, some security, someplace where it doesn’t have to wonder anymore. In an effort to find joy, to be happy the mind tries to wander either to the past—trying to find some events that will make it happy or future- trying to put itself into a situation where it finds happiness, or fantasize something by daydreaming so it can remain happy.
Is mind-wandering bad?
Children are often reprimanded for day-dreaming in school, so many of us grow up believing that day-dreaming, or mind-wandering, is something to be guarded against if we want to do well in life.
Of course, a lot of mind-wandering can be negative and intrusive, and difficult to tame. Ruminating about things that have made us miserable and things we are worried about is something we could do without.
Here’s the good news!
The fact that you’re finding it very hard to stop your mind’s wandering is good news. You’re seeing into the wild, wandering nature of the mind and letting it do as per its chartered nature.
New research suggests that mind-wandering can serve important functions for our performance and well-being. It can make you happier, healthier, more creative and may improve your performance; depending upon the context.
Mind-wandering isn’t something we should be guilty about. Restlessness is creativity within just waiting to be expressed!
Can you control the restless mind?
Trying to control thought is like trying to control or captivate the wind. The harder you try, the more frustrated you become. So, when thoughts blow around, you’re not doing something wrong. That’s what thoughts do.
Whether the experience is of thoughts, people or events, trying to control drags you—your mind, your emotions, your experience—in a repetitive cycle of struggle.
So the answer is NO. there’s no way to control the restless mind but there are some ways to clam—not control—the restless mind.
Ways to calm the restless mind
Here are some ways or tips from my personal experience, you can work to calm your mind and stop racing thoughts:
- Use distancing: Our mind usually worries about things it is convinced are true but, most of the time is actually not true. You can’t direct the sun to become cool but can change your location. Likewise, you can distance yourself from the problem—whether it’s a situation or a human.
- Create a mantra: A mantra is just a simple phrase or word that you repeat to calm your mind. Research has shown that repeating a mantra reduces activity in the part of your brain that is responsible for self-judgment and reflection. You could try something like LIFE IS GOOD, EVERYTHING IS FINE or ALL IS WELL.
- Focus on the present moment: Returning your focus to the present will help you accept and let go of what you can’t control. It will also help you realize that you can’t change the past, and that the future hasn’t happened yet, so it’s a waste of time to keep thinking about them.
- Breathe: This shifts the fight-or-flight response of your sympathetic nervous system to the relaxed response of the parasympathetic nervous system. Try counting to 3 as you breathe in and to 5 as you breathe out. Pay attention only to your breathing as you try to slow it down. Your mind will wander but just bring it back to your breathing.
- Listen to music: Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music. … As music can absorb our attention, it acts as a distraction at the same time it helps to explore emotions. This means it can be a great aid to meditation, helping to prevent the mind wandering.
- Take a nap: If you have any problem just Sleep it off. This will refresh your mind and will help you think efficiently.
- Cultivate compassion and help others: Finding your inner purpose is the best defense against restlessness, and regardless of your individual purpose, compassion is paramount. Helping others is good for both body and soul, and can help you find what you are looking to achieve in life. Compassion and kindness promote a sense of wholeness and restores intention in our lives.
- Accept what you don’t know: Surrender to the universe. To surrender is not to give up, but rather to admit that you cannot control every single thing that happens to you. Acknowledge the unknown and trust that each action you take will open a door to new experiences and new opportunities. Control is rooted in fear. Let go of fear and focus on living, not controlling.
- Transform: Change is important and inevitable. Don’t stick to old habits, patterns or people who are causing problems in your life. Move on!
- Meditation: It can even have beneficial psychological and physical effects. It’s a great stress reducer that can calm you and bring relaxation. Calming meditation can help you sleep better, focus better at work and remain calm throughout the day.
- Yoga: Wake up early and avoid hitting the snooze button. Start your day with a glass of water and invigorating yoga to facilitate motivation throughout the rest of your day.
- Focus on spirituality, not religion: It’s a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it’s a universal human experience—something that touches us all.
Don’t blame the poor mind—all it’s trying to do is find happiness for you by trying to be in the present moment by wandering either to the past or the future!