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Neuroscientists Say These Are The 5 Best Ways to Clear A Troubled Mind

Neuroscientists Say These Are The 5 Best Ways to Clear A Troubled Mind

We’re all trying to achieve great things. With a troubled mind, this can be significantly more difficult. Imagine if you could ‒ at will ‒ calm your mind. You’ll be able to think clearly, not let your emotions get involved, and finally get ahead in life by doing things that are more rewarding. Here are the top 5 ways neuroscientists say you can clear a troubled mind.

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is basically thinking about thinking. This is done by getting your thoughts and feelings out in the open, rather than letting them stew inside your mind. This is something I like to do personally as well. When my first girlfriend broke up with me, I practiced mindfulness and found myself being at peace. I imagined myself standing in the corner of the room looking at the “real me” standing in the middle of the room feeling sorry for myself.

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What happened next was amazing: I could gently feel the negative feelings of losing the love of my life (at the time) ebbing away. I could climb out of the hole I had dug for myself and move on. Psychology Today has a great article about this for you to read into more detail.

2. Meditation

Meditation is another approach you can use to calm a troubled mind. While there are several approaches to meditation, it’s all about consciously observing your thoughts and letting them drift by. Meditation isn’t so much about clearing your mind, more so standing by the side of the river of your thoughts and watching them make them way downstream.

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You don’t have to cross your legs and hum, all you need to do is being comfortable, sit still, and focus on your breathing.

3. Suppression

This is what a lot of people do naturally. When your mind is full of thoughts, bad ones start bubbling their way up. It’s not a pleasant feeling. Through sheer willpower, you cram them back into a box where they can’t annoy you. In line with Substitution, which I’ll talk about in a moment, suppression is a way of consciously ignoring something so that the thought doesn’t cause you any more problems.

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Note that this doesn’t always work. Just like a glass, it can overfill and cause more harm than good. Each person is different and this strategy may work better for you if you have greater control of your emotions.

4. Substitution

Daydreamers, this technique is for you. Substitution is about replacing unwanted thoughts with nicer ones. Substitution allows you to replace bad feelings with good by creating a brand new memory. This memory may exist for a short time, or it could be an elaborate fabrication that you choose to believe. Whatever the case, the idea behind substitution is that it will make you happier.

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This can be taken to the extreme. Some people construct entire lives in their minds and get so detached with reality that they forget what’s real and what’s not. This technique is only good if you have a strong imagination.

5. Distraction

This is the last technique. Like substitution, distraction is a way that people can forget about the thoughts that are causing them grief. Distraction relies on outside stimuli to draw their attention away from what’s happening inside their mind. The great thing about this is that you can outsource this to something or someone you trust.

You might have a friend who you can talk to, who reminds you that the world is still OK. You might play in a sports club that draws your attention away from yourself and instead forces you to put selfish thoughts aside so you can contribute to a greater cause. Whatever the case, distractions are another great way to clear a troubled mind.

So, what method do you prefer the most?

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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