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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

6 Relaxation Techniques to Calm Your Busy Mind

6 Relaxation Techniques to Calm Your Busy Mind

Regardless of where or what you work, if you want to calm your mind you must stop doing what you do for a second and invest the time in learning these relaxation techniques.

The mind’s sole purpose is to be busy and effective – thinking efficiently, but mostly the busy mind leads to exhaustion and fatigue and not to efficiency and stamina.

Efficient thinking is to be considered as fundamental for leading a quality life. Since the busy mind is a never-ending rattling machine for producing thoughts of literally any kind, we want to know how to calm that mind to think efficiently and not just think randomly.

The essential thing for that is the proper application of a relaxation technique – the right natural medicine that’ll calm down the rattling mind and give it space for clarity. Without clarity the mind cannot be efficient, it stays uncoordinated, frustrated and powerless.

From Busy to Efficient Mind Through Different Relaxation Techniques

The goal and objective of this project is to deliver a value through series of relaxation techniques that can be implemented right at the spot and provide an immediate effect on the user to relax mentally as well as physically. As a result of that relaxation, the mental efficiency increases.

The idea of this project apart of gaining productivity is gaining the ability to balance emotions and increase self-esteem/self-worth.

If you wonder why you’re missing strength, endurance and why you cannot relax and feel joy in your busy daily life, is because you haven’ t given your mind the possibility to calm, gain clarity and preserve all the qualities that you already possess or try to create.

Here we go with the very simple, very natural and highly effective relaxation techniques to calm your mind. Calming the mind is nothing easy to do, as the mind is constantly busy with thinking, even during the phase of sleeping. The techniques below are of meditative nature and aren’t any less serious than a technique for efficient thinking.[1]

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1. Closed Eyes and Exhalation Relaxation Technique

Your time is valuable and so is mine, therefore I’ll try to be as concise as possible in describing these techniques. There can’t be any easier, simpler relaxation technique with an instant effect than the one where you:

  1. Take a gentle, slow, deep breath;
  2. Close your eyes and exhale;
  3. Open your eyes and inhale;
  4. Close your eyes and exhale.

Practice this for ten breaths, check the calming effect and carry on with the exercise accordingly.

Simple and easy to perform, these relaxation techniques are the fastest way to calm your busy, rattling mind. Follow your inhalation with open eyes symbolizes facing the reality you’re in, whereas closing your eyes and exhaling, you enter within your own world in which no one else can disturb your peace and calmness. Here are some tips on how to make your mind calm: 11 Ways to Make Your Mind Calm and Peaceful.

For the advanced who is familiar with breath work and mediation, this relaxation technique has an immediate effect and is highly efficient. If you say that this relaxation technique doesn’t work for you that means that your busy mind is just too busy and not that easy to be calmed. Hence, the calming would require going a step further into a deeper relaxation technique.

2. Closed Eyes, Covered Ears with Breathing Relaxation Technique

This relaxation techniques requires more involvement than the first one. You use you’re palms to cover your ears, preventing the disturbance of external sounds. So, regardless of wherever you are and how busy your mind is, just stop doing anything, sit if possible and:

  1. Take a gentle, slow, deep breath;
  2. Close your eyes and cover your ears with your palms;
  3. Listen to the sound within your head when your ears are covered;
  4. Focus on gentle, slow and deep breathing.

Practice this for ten breaths, check the calming effect and carry on with the exercise accordingly.

Having your ears covered, this relaxation technique takes you to your own inner world where no outside sounds or images can disturb you. Its Immediate isolation from the outside world has instant effect of silence, calmness and relaxation.[2]

If you think that this exercise still cannot calm your busy mind, then, once again you go a step deeper, adding a new element in the next relaxation techniques.

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3. Closed Eyes and Ears with Breathing and Humming (Exhalation) Relaxation Technique

In this relaxation techniques you now use your own voice and eliminate any external sound that might disturb you – creating your own inner sound, an inner vibration which adds to your calmness and inner harmony:

  1. Take a gentle, slow, deep breath;
  2. Close your eyes and cover your ears with your palms;
  3. On exhalation, start humming in a way that the sound comes from beneath your throat;
  4. Focus on loving, slow and deep exhalation;
  5. Inhale in your own way that makes you comfortable;
  6. Exhale, humming with an intensity that makes you feel calm and relaxed.

Practice this for ten breaths, check the calming effect and carry on with the exercise accordingly.

These relaxation techniques has not only a calming effect on the brain, but also sends vibrations that sooth your whole body, reaching the deep tissue and the cells. It has a healing effect on all bodily systems (especially the nervous system) when done continuously and permanently.

4. Closed Eyes and Ears, Breathing and Humming (Exhalation) & Deep Inhalation Relaxation Technique

With these relaxation techniques, you can not only relax and calm your busy brain but also start recover your wasted energy. It is also an energy booster technique at the same time. After calming yourself through the humming of exhalation, you now gather new energy through a deep inhalation.

  1. Take a gentle, slow, deep breath;
  2. Close your eyes and cover your ears with your palms;
  3. On exhalation, start humming in a way that the sound comes from beneath your throat;
  4. Focus on loving, slow and deep exhalation
  5. Inhale sharply so the air streams through your teeth (this creates a cooling effect);
  6. Exhale, humming with an intensity that makes you feel calm and comfortable.

Practice this for ten breaths, check the calming effect and carry on with the exercise accordingly.

You can use the value of these relaxation techniques to soothe, vitalize and stimulate your nervous system. The exhalation with the humming will calm your busy mind and relax your body, whereas the sharp, deep inhalation will vitalize your brain and add an extra portion of oxygen that will elevate you. This way you can stimulate your mood and your emotions. Find more ways on how to boost your mental energy levels in this article: 15 Ways to Boost Mental Energy Levels.

5. Calm Mind and Calm Body Relaxation Technique

Consequently, in this relaxation technique you apply physical movement and make the exercise more effective. Apply the breathing rhythm you’ve already adopted from the above techniques and:

  1. Sit or stand with your spine upright;
  2. Close your eyes and put your fists on the back of your pelvis (like pushing your pelvis forward);
  3. Gently and lovingly, inhale deeply (put a smile on your face – this action should make fun), open your chest as much as you can;
  4. While you exhale, keep pressing your fists against your back as it fits you, feeling a light muscle contraction;
  5. Inhale sharply, so the air streams through your teeth (this creates a refreshing and reviving effect);
  6. Exhale, through your mouth or nose – whichever way you feel more comfortable, feeling the relief and the relaxation throughout your whole body. Realize the calmness within you.

Practice this for ten breaths, check the calming effect and carry on with the exercise accordingly.

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Applying physical energy in this relaxation techniques, you’ll not only calm your mind but also work on your body’s physiology, creating physical fitness. This technique is very effective as it engages both, your mind and your body to focus on mental and physical activity. You can combine this technique with any other body movement that fits your body anatomy the best.

The most important thing is creating a rhythm between breath and body movement, mentioned in one of my previous posts about yoga postures.[3]

If all the above techniques still cannot calm your mind, there is another great relaxation technique that involves active physical movement and has a great value to mental and physical health.

6. Walk, Talk and Breathing Relaxation Technique

In the case where your mind is super busy and heated up, you do the following sequence of mental and physical movements that’ll cool you down and calm your mind:

  1. Stop any disturbing and unfavorable activity that brought you to this point;
  2. Start walking and concentrate on walking only, focusing on each of your step;
  3. Balance your walking rhythm with you breathing – this will initiate the calming process and give you the time and space for a constructive thinking;
  4. As you walk and breathe, start to delegate your mind with thoughts that’ll empower you;
  5. Inhale deeply by saying these three short statements “I can do this, I can face this challenge, I can deal with this situation”;
  6. Exhale extensively and feel the calming effect of your walking activity. Feel the fine energy of calmness beginning to arise after a short distance of walking.

Practice this for at least 5-10 minutes. Just walk and don’t stop. Even if its in a room, open a window to get a fresh air and just walk around the room. Perform these six steps continuously and you will get the effect of relaxation and calmness within yourself. Your eagerness in doing this seriously, will calm your mind and give you the capacity to start anew, improve your stamina, peacefulness and relaxation.

Be perceptive of how quickly these relaxation techniques calms your mind. During this short period of time you can re-structure your mindset and improve your behavior and the approach to all your future challenges and conflicts.

The Approach to Relaxation Techniques

Regardless of our mental content, we all need the knowledge to manage our emotions, feelings and thoughts efficiently, especially in a professional environment where emotional labor is required.[4] We want to be creative, productive and successful. Our mind’s purpose is to be efficient and able to find a solution for any kind of problem.

Yet there is this one thing that makes the calming of our minds to be a problem:

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Processing dynamic flow of superficial (unessential) information.

This mental process creates useless feelings and emotional dissonance, like the information circulating on social media, countless emails of subjective content, etc.

Processing large amount of information in a very short time span, we cannot identify what feelings and emotions arise as a result, not mentioning working with those in order to feel the message sent to reach our hearts. Hence, we ignore the vital signs that our body is communicating and fail to recognize the need for relaxation techniques.

Read this article about 25 Signs You are Already Successful and You’re Simply Unaware to learn more about whether or not you need to do more of these relaxation techniques.

Final Thoughts

Begin to apply these relaxation techniques in any situation in your daily life. You breathe, talk and walk during your waking state anyway, so approach these techniques in a subtle and organic way and embrace them not like something new to you, but as something that is a intrinsic part of yourself, only you have forgotten about it.

Integrate them to your lifestyle, make them your routine, your habit. The components of these relaxation techniques are the fundamentals of life, use their value and enjoy their benefits constantly. Then your mind will be busy in a creative and constructive way, producing freshness and efficiency. I salute the spirit in you!

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Marcin Gil

Marcin is a spiritual being just like anyone challenging to uncover what we already have โ€“ spiritual freedom.

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Published on April 9, 2021

What Is Mindfulness And How It Helps Your Mental Wellness

What Is Mindfulness And How It Helps Your Mental Wellness

Mindfulness has become a popular buzzword in the health and wellness industry. However, few people truly understand what it is. My aim here is to teach you what mindfulness is and how it helps your mental wellness. By the end of this article, you will understand the meaning and benefits of mindfulness. Additionally, you will develop the ability to integrate mindfulness into your daily life.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is approximately 2500-years-old with deep roots in the Eastern world as a spiritual, ethical, and philosophical practice. These roots are intimately connected to the Buddhist practice of vipassana meditation.[1]

Mindfulness continues to be practiced as a cultural and spiritual tradition in many parts of the world. For Buddhists, it offers an ethical and moral code of conduct. For many, mindfulness is more than a practice—it is a way of life.[2]

However, mindfulness has evolved in the Western world and has become a non-religious practice for wellbeing. The evolution began around 1979 when Jon-Kabat Zinn developed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).[3] Since then, mindfulness has emerged in the health and wellness industry and continues to evolve.

It is important to recognize the distinctions between mindfulness as a clinical practice and mindfulness as a cultural practice. The focus of this article is on the clinical model of mindfulness developed in the West.

Many researchers have integrated aspects of Buddhism and mindfulness into clinical psychiatry and psychology. Buddhism has helped to inform many mental health theories and therapies. However, the ethical and moral codes of conduct that drive Buddhist practices are no longer integrated into the mindfulness practices most-often taught in the Western world.[4] Therefore, Western mindfulness is often a non-spiritual practice for mental wellness.

Mindfulness aims to cultivate present moment awareness both within the body and the environment.[5] However, awareness is only the first element. Non-judgmental acceptance of the present moment is essential for true mindfulness to occur. Thoughts and feelings are explored without an emphasis on right, wrong, past, or future.

The only necessary condition for mindfulness to occur is non-judgmental acceptance and awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness can be practiced by anyone, anywhere, and at any time. It does not need to be complex even though structured programs exist.

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How Mindfulness Helps Your Mental Wellness

Along with MBSR, other models have been developed and adapted for use by clinical counselors, psychologists, and therapists. These include Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).[6]

Structured models of mindfulness allow researchers to study its benefits. Research has uncovered an abundance of benefits including mental, physical, cognitive, and spiritual. The following is not a comprehensive list of all its benefits, but it will begin to uncover how mindfulness helps mental wellness.

Benefits on Your Mental Health

Practicing mindfulness can have positive impacts on mental health. It has been positively associated with desirable traits, such as:

  • Autonomy
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Competence
  • Empathy
  • Optimism

Mindfulness helps to improve self-esteem, increase life satisfaction and enhance self-compassion. It is associated with pleasant emotions and mood. Overall, people who practice this appear to be happier and experience more joy in life. Not only does it increase happiness but it may also ward off negativity.

Mindfulness helps individuals to let go of negative thoughts and regulate emotions. For example, it may decrease fear, stress, worry, anger, and anxiety. It also helps to reduce rumination, which is a repetition of negative thoughts in the mind.

MBSR was originally designed to treat chronic pain. It has since evolved to include the treatment of anxiety and depression. Clinical studies have shown that MBSR is linked with:

  • Reduced chronic pain and improved quality of life
  • Decreased risk of relapse in depression
  • Reduced negative thinking in anxiety disorders
  • Prevention of major depressive disorders
  • Reducing substance-use frequency and cravings

However, more research is needed before these clinical studies can be generalized to the public. Nevertheless, there is promising evidence to suggest MBSR may be beneficial for mental health.[7]

Benefits on Your Cognitive Health

Mindfulness has many important benefits for cognitive health as well. In a study of college students, mindfulness increased performance in attention and persistence. Another study found that individuals who practice it have increased cognitive flexibility. A brain scan found increased thickness in areas of the brain related to attention, interception, and sensory processing.[8]

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To explain this another way, practicing mindfulness can improve the ability to shift from one task to the next, increase attention span and increase awareness of bodily sensations and the environment. Therefore, it has the potential to literally change your brain for the better.

Harvard researchers are also interested in studies of the brain and mindfulness. One researcher studied how brain changes are sustained even when individuals are not engaged in mindfulness. Their research suggests that its benefits extend beyond the moments of mindfulness.[9]

Another study found that the benefits of mindfulness training lasted up to five years. In this particular case, individuals participating in mindfulness activities showed increased attention-span. Mindfulness has also been shown to increase problem-solving and decrease mind wandering.[10]

What Is Mindfulness Meditation?

Mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways. However, most practices include these elements:

  • An object to focus awareness on (breath, body, thoughts, sounds)
  • Awareness of the present moment
  • Openness to experience whatever comes up
  • Acceptance that the mind will wander
  • The intention to return awareness to the object of focus whenever the mind wanders

A practice that encompasses these elements is typically called mindfulness meditation. Most mindfulness meditations will be practiced between 5 to 50 minutes, per day.[11]

There is truly no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness. Most mindfulness meditations are done seated with an object of focus related to the breath, body, thoughts, emotions, or sounds. However, daily activities such as walking or eating can be practiced as a form of mindfulness meditation, as long as the aforementioned elements are in place.

Four Mindfulness Meditations and Their Benefits

Not all forms of mindfulness are created equal. Each practice has unique goals, structure, and benefits. The following four mindfulness meditations are linked with improved mental wellness related to vitality, happiness, and attention.

The results come from a study designed to explore the benefits of these four practices. All of these stem from traditional Buddhist practices.[12]

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1. Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness is a form of meditation that focuses on sending love and compassion to others. It may begin with kindness for the self and extend outward towards close family and friends, communities, nations, and the world. Loving-kindness may even involve sending love and compassion towards enemies.

The study found that eight-weeks of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of closeness to others. However, it did not reduce negative feelings towards enemies. Additionally, one week of loving-kindness mixed with compassion training increased the amount of positive feelings participants experienced.[13]

2. Breathing Meditation

Breathing meditation is a practice where the focus remains on the breath. Whenever the mind begins to wander, the attention is brought back to the breath.

In many different mindfulness and yoga practices, specific breathing (pranayama) practices are taught. However, for beginners, simple diaphragmatic breathing that focuses on each inhale and exhale is sufficient.

The effects of breathing meditation relate to attention. Breathing meditation is linked to changes in the way information is processed. Buddhist monks who practiced breathing meditation were able to process a greater amount of information than monks who practiced compassion meditation.

3. Body Scan Meditation

A body scan is as simple as it sounds. Attention is brought to each part of the body. Participants can choose to start from the top of the head or the bottom of the feet. It can be helpful to imagine a warmth or a color spreading from one body part to the next as each part begins to relax.

When body scan and breathing are combined, there are many benefits. Interoceptive sensitivity is the mind’s ability to focus on bodily cues. It is strengthened by body scanning. Body scanning also helps with attention and focus.[14]

4. Observing Thoughts Meditation

In observing thoughts meditation, the focus is on the thoughts. This is an opportunity to practice non-judgmental observation. It is also a practice of non-attachment.

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Within the study, participants practiced structured observation of thoughts. First, they brought their attention to their thoughts and labeled them within several categories: past, present, future, self, or others. Then, they practiced observing their thoughts without an emotional reaction.[15]

The benefits of this practice were robust. First, participants showed great improvement in the ability to observe their thoughts without judgment. Second, the practice greatly reduced rumination. As a result, participants had fewer emotional reactions to their thoughts and developed greater self-awareness around their thinking patterns.

In summary, there are many different ways to practice mindfulness meditation. The choice may be determined by the benefits each practice offers. For example, body scanning can increase bodily awareness. Thought-observation can increase self-awareness and decrease rumination. Regardless, every practice may increase positivity, energy, and focus.[16]

Considerations Before You Begin Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is still a relatively new concept in clinical research. Critics worry that its benefits have been overstated. There is also concern that the Western world has changed it into something most Buddhists would not recognize.[17]

Mindfulness is a state of mind that builds self-awareness. As a result, it may force individuals to face difficult emotions, memories, and thoughts. In a study of long-term, intense mindfulness practices, 60% of participants reported at least one negative outcome. Some cases are related to depression, anxiety, and psychosis.[18]

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental wellness. Mindfulness offering promising results but there are also risks involved. Working with a therapist may be a great way to start a mindfulness practice while monitoring for risk.

Final Thoughts

Mindfulness is a powerful practice that has deep roots in Buddhism. It is a practice of present-moment awareness, acceptance of the present moment, and non-judgment of thoughts, emotions, or circumstances.

It has many benefits that may increase mental wellness. However, there are also some risks to consider. Overall, you should consider your unique profile before beginning a practice or consider working with a therapist at the start.

More About Practicing Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Simon Migaj via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] NCBI: A Perspective on the Similarities and Differences Between Mindfulness and Relaxation
[2] Sage Journals: Mindfulness in Cultural Context
[3] Greater Good Magazine: What is Mindfulness?
[4] Sage Journals: Mindfulness in Cultural Context
[5] Greater Good Magazine: The State of Mindfulness Science
[6] NCBI: Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health: A Review of Empirical Studies
[7] NCBI: Mindfulness Meditation and Psychopathology
[8] NCBI: Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health: A Review of Empirical Studies
[9] The Harvard Gazette: When Science Meets Mindfulness
[10] Greater Good Magazine: The State of Mindfulness Science
[11] NCBI: A Perspective on the Similarities and Differences Between Mindfulness and Relaxation
[12] ResearchGate: Phenomenological Fingerprints of Four Meditations: Differential State Changes in Affect, Mind-Wandering, Meta-Cognition, and Interoception Before and After Daily Practice Across Nine Months of Training
[13] ResearchGate: Phenomenological Fingerprints of Four Meditations: Differential State Changes in Affect, Mind-Wandering, Meta-Cognition, and Interoception Before and After Daily Practice Across Nine Months of Training
[14] ResearchGate: Phenomenological Fingerprints of Four Meditations: Differential State Changes in Affect, Mind-Wandering, Meta-Cognition, and Interoception Before and After Daily Practice Across Nine Months of Training
[15] ResearchGate: Phenomenological Fingerprints of Four Meditations: Differential State Changes in Affect, Mind-Wandering, Meta-Cognition, and Interoception Before and After Daily Practice Across Nine Months of Training
[16] Greater Good Magazine: How to Choose a Type of Mindfulness Meditation
[17] NCBI: Has the Science of Mindfulness Lost Its Mind?
[18] NCBI: Has the Science of Mindfulness Lost Its Mind?

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