The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Emily at So Damn Domestic.
It’s one of those days.
I’ve got stuff to do and my mind is muddled.
I haven’t been getting good sleep lately; dreaming all night every night (because my brain won’t stop) is exhausting.
I’ve got to clear my mind.
Have you ever been in a funk like this? I get them now and then, and sometimes it’s hard to break the cycle. But the faster I do, the sooner I’m back to normal, kicking butt and taking names (and having fun).
So how DO we clear our minds? How CAN we break out of a funk?
I have a few tricks for breaking through. They don’t all always work, but usually at least one of them will snap me out of it. Here are 4 ways to clear your mind:
Give yourself permission to stop
The world won’t end if you put down the to-do list, stop making plans in your head, and just breathe. Even if you only take an hour, or 15 minutes, or even 5 minutes to try one of these tricks, giving yourself permission to actually let go for that period of time will allow you to have more success.
You don’t have to sit in full lotus on a pillow in front of a Buddha to meditate. You don’t have to wear yoga pants and a french braid. You don’t have to chant or have a guided mp3 talk you through it. And you don’t need a significant amount of time to meditate.
I’m not an expert… I’m just now learning, but here’s how I do it:
- Slow down. If I’m moving, I move more slowly.
- Yesterday I was taking the shells off of hard boiled eggs while I meditated. I kept working, but more slowly.
- Feel the movements of your body. Feel the center of your body where your breath fills you the most. Relax any tension, especially in your shoulders, neck, and jaw. Notice the feel of the air on your skin. Pay attention to your contact with the earth.
- While I shelled the eggs with my hands in a bowl of water, I felt every swish of the water on my fingers, every piece of shell sloughing off with a quiet satisfying crack, and felt the corners of my feet firmly in contact with the floor.
- Let your thoughts go. It’s nearly impossible to have NO thoughts. But as I understand it, that isn’t the goal in meditation. When a thought pops into your head, let it go. Some people will imagine the thought written on a leaf, floating away down a river. Others picture the thought floating away like a cloud across the sky.
- Picturing streams or clouds is distracting for me, so when a thought pops into my mind, I hold it to me briefly like a mental hug, and then expel it as if I’m opening the embrace. It’s hard to explain since it isn’t visual, but this is how I let my thoughts go.
- Do it for as long as you can or need to. I only had a few (2 or 3) minutes of this time before one of my kids needed me for something. But it was enough to slow my mind and make me more present again. Like a mental reboot.
Change your scenery
Head to the front porch with your lunch. Go to a neighbor’s house for a visit. Drive to a park or the library. Visit a coffee shop.
When you’re trying to break any kind of cycle, changing location is a huge help. It gets us away from the conditions that trigger the same kind of thinking, or some sort of fancy psychology like that.
All I know is that this is huge. It works.
Go for a walk. Dance. Do yoga. Have a tickle fight.
Get your blood flowing, bringing oxygen throughout your body and to your brain, and you’ll feel renewed and ready to focus again.
We don’t need much time to try any of these, or even all of them. But when we finish, our minds will feel so much clearer, and we’ll be ready to take on the rest of the day with new focus and energy.
Which will you try first?
Emily Chapelle is military wife and mama to two little ones. She blogs at So Damn Domestic. Get her free ebook, Finding the Awesome,for more inspiration and guided, broken-down exercises to do more, stress less, ditch guilt, and love your life.