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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

5 Techniques to Quiet Your Mind And Stay Present

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5 Techniques to Quiet Your Mind And Stay Present

Everyone wants to live a good life. The good news is that you can improve the quality of your life by learning how to quiet your mind and stay present.

This article presents 5 techniques on how you can do this. With persistence and patience, you can successfully learn and master these techniques. But before that, let’s first discuss a few things about your mind and thoughts.

The Mind in General

The total sum of your knowledge and experience is acquired through your mind. Every ability, every performance, every recognition is conducted by your mind. Yet, you are not your mind! This is paradoxical and quite irritating, especially when we can’t see the difference between these statements.

If everything I know and everything I can experience must pass through my mind, then how come I am not my mind?

You’re not—at least not entirely.

You’re not the thoughts you’re producing unless you put them into action, but this is another topic. Here, we want to find out how to manage and quiet the mind and not get managed by it. The techniques explained here will help you do that so you can face all your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

The mind’s purpose is to construct thoughts and produce reason as a result. This includes combining thoughts, feelings, emotions, and logic; making recognitions, creating mental skills and virtues, and dwelling in revelations, celebrations, and disconsolation.

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Using the mind for these purposes and being aware of them exhibits mastery over the mind.

Normally, when the mind is not used as per the above mentioned mental qualities and activities but only for a random and superficial use, it becomes not only busy and dynamic but also mostly dominant. We get trapped in the easiest and laziest patterns that the mind sees as comfortable—then comes the need to quiet the mind (thoughts, feelings, and emotions).

Thoughts, Feelings, and Emotions

Because our mind is overwhelmed by the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that it creates, it makes us believe that that’s what reality is—our reality, which isn’t actually. Our mind is tricking us with its infinite capacity and velocity of constructing all kinds of thoughts.

Therefore, the techniques to quiet the mind and stay present helps us see that our reality is not our thoughts, feelings, or emotions. Our mind is the most beautiful tool, capable of understanding the world with everything good and bad in it—making life a great and valuable experience on every level.

And surely, our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are also tools for making that happen.

By using the techniques in this article, you can better understand your feelings and emotions and not only quiet the mind but also acquire emotional intelligence.

At first, you might experience a state of bliss and nothingness. But our goal here is to quiet the mind and make use of the present moment.

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These techniques are meant to quiet your mind and show you that your feelings of sadness, happiness, or any other emotion are not the essence of your reality—the essence of the present moment.

Using Your Senses as Tools

The techniques I created involve the five senses, and they will be closely working with your feelings and emotions. They are designed to get your mind’s focus on only one of your senses and make you see how your mind can calm down.

While you execute these techniques, you’ll be able to realize the presence of your action—the present moment—by creating a mindful bond between you and your feelings. Through practicing and acquiring the knowledge you’ll get to the experience of emotions, which can positively influence sensory processing and add value when dealing with difficult everyday life situations.

Very important instruction: Try not to get involved with your emotions right away. Just let the feelings you produce quiet your mind and settle you in the present moment.

Once you become confident with the experience of the feelings, you can then deal with facing, decoding, and managing your emotions.

5 Techniques to Quiet Your Mind and Stay Present

Here are 5 techniques to help you quiet your mind for a better quality of life.

1. The Subtle Seeing Technique

A vision is born with closed eyes!

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  1. Simply close your eyes and project an image of something you really like—something that is present at the point of creating the image. This could be the face of a loved one or a specific element of nature that’s meaningful to you; the sun, the water, the wind, a landscape with trees, a mountain, a river, and so on.
  2. Breathe gently and deeply into this image. Try not to involve memories or create further imagination into that subtle seeing. Become one with this image. Life is how you see things within you.
  3. Use your feelings that this subtle seeing has created, and see how your mind instantly calms down and how your concentration makes use of your present moment.

Breathe gently into your feelings and enjoy the beauty of your vision.

2. The Subtle Hearing Technique

The silence is your inner sound!

  1. Cover your ears and feel the sound streaming inside your head. With closed or open eyes, focus on the streaming of that sound.
  2. Focus on the stream of your breathing and recognize the difference between these two sounds. They are different but constant. Try to connect as deeply as possible with these sounds.
  3. Use your feelings that this subtle hearing has created, and see how your mind instantly calms down and how your concentration makes use of your present moment.

Breathe gently into your feelings and enjoy the harmony of your rhythmic melody.

3. The Subtle Smelling Technique

A good smell can knock you off with a feather!

  1. Take a scent that you really like—one that takes you deep within you. Inhale the smell gently and deeply, and focus on the feelings that emerge from it.
  2. It doesn’t have to involve any memories nor create any imagination. Just identify what you feel from the scent.
  3. Use your feelings and see how your mind instantly calms down and how your concentration makes use of your present moment.

Breathe gently into your feelings and enjoy the enchantment of your scent.

4. The Subtle Tasting Technique

Flavour shapes character!

  1. Take a natural flavor that you really like—for, me this would be dark chocolate, Jasmin tea, or a coffee. Take any natural flavor that you like. After consuming it, have your tongue run through your palate.
  2. Try to connect deeply with that flavor, and see what kinds of feelings emerge from it. Acknowledge that this whole process takes place in the present moment.

Breathe gently into your feelings and enjoy the richness of your flavor.

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5. The Subtle Touching Technique

Palms can heal!

  1. Start slowly rubbing your palms. Notice the heat being created through the friction.
  2. Place your palms on your face and feel the heat entering your face. Rub your palms and place them on your eyes or any other part of your head. Feel the heat of your palms entering your head.
  3. Feel the quietness of your mind through your palms. See this process as one long moment of presence. Breathe gently into your feelings and enjoy the energy of your touch.

Meditation and Breath as the Primary Technique

All of the above exercises are meditations on certain sensory perceptions. The breathing is used as a central element to support the continuity of the meditative process and intensify your experience when using the senses. You can benefit in many ways when practicing these meditative techniques.

These techniques will take you through these four phases:

  1. Focus on your sense-perception;
  2. Focus on the feeling your sense perception is creating;
  3. Calmness of mind through the feelings;
  4. Connection with the present moment during that process.

Final Thoughts

Working this way, you will not only learn how to quiet your mind and stay present but also develop a strong sense of how feelings turn into emotions. This moment, which is the key to learn about feelings and emotions, is mostly overlooked and underestimated, resulting in the experience of emotional imbalance.

Once you get connected to that moment (which always lies in the present moment), you can learn how to move along with any emotion or feeling that is overwhelming your present moment—your life.

After a serious, diligent work, you can reach a state of equanimity where you expand your insight and your inner growth. Once there, you are a master of emotions! Using these techniques, you’ll always be able to quiet your mind and stay in the present moment.

More Tips on How to Quiet Your Mind

Featured photo credit: Haley Phelps via unsplash.com

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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 August 23, 2021

Why Am I Depressed If My Life Is Fine?

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Why Am I Depressed If My Life Is Fine?

If you suffer from depression or suddenly experience bouts of sadness that seem to come out of nowhere, you probably wonder why this is happening. The truth is that there are several possibilities, and you aren’t alone. According to the World Health Organization, in January of 2020, more than 264 million people were diagnosed with depression and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.[1] In this article, I will answer the question: why am I depressed if my life is fine?” I will discuss what depression is and what the possible causes of depression are. Additionally, I will offer some solutions to consider as you navigate the depression you are experiencing.

The question of why you are depressed if your life is fine is one that I can personally identify with, as I can remember a time when I went through an intense depression even though, in many ways, my life couldn’t have been much better. I was financially secure, had a good family, lived in a beautiful place, had a pretty adventurous and exciting life, but none of that could have prevented a serious and prolonged battle with depression.

Given that you are here reading this article now, you will hopefully be able to identify the problem early and get the support you need to fend off any significant depressive episodes, as this can make a huge difference in your battle with depression.

Furthermore, you don’t have to live with depression! Despite the debilitating effects of depression, with the right treatment and support, it is also one of the more “curable” mental health disorders and you can overcome it.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, irritability, and in the worst cases, despair and suicidality.

Depression from a clinical perspective is classified into a few distinctive categories, two of the more common categories are; major depression and dysthymia. According to the DSM 5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual—which governs the diagnosis of psychiatric and mental health disorders—major depression is classified as experiencing five or more symptoms in the same two-week period and must include a loss in pleasure as well as a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.[2]

The criteria are:

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  • Loss of pleasure or joy
  • Intense feelings of sadness and depressed mood most of the day, almost every day
  • Difficulty sleeping or disturbed sleep
  • Change in appetite (increased or decreased appetite) and a 5% change in body weight
  • Difficulty focusing, poor concentration
  • Psychomotor agitation or slowing down
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Persistent thoughts of death, dying, and suicide

Dysthymia is an ongoing or persistent depressed mood for a period of two years where you feel sadness more days than not. It will include at least two of the following symptoms when depressed:

  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (having more sleep than usual)
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor concentration
  • Feeling of hopelessness

The above symptoms of dysthymia can coincide with the symptoms of major depression.

Causes of Depression

Depression happens for several reasons that I categorize into three: biology, environment, and situation. Depression also tends to occur in more sensitive people, tend to overthink, and get stuck in their thoughts, which—more times than not—are negative.

Biological causes of depression are related to how your body produces neurotransmitters that impact your moods, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Some people might have a biological predisposition for depression and never experience any significant symptoms but when confronted with a challenging life situation, such as a loss or disappointment, it can send them into a tailspin of despondency and intense feelings of low and sad mood.

Depression caused by one’s environment is more about those you might have grown up with, your family, and your home environment, which could also be connected to heredity. Regardless of your biological predisposition, you learn how to handle challenges in life by observing those around you.

Adults, in particular, are role models for children and will likely deal with life in similar ways as to what they observed. For example, a child who grows up witnessing partner abuse between their parents is at increased risk of either being a victim or perpetrator of violence in an intimate relationship as an adult.[3]

Situational depression, as I mentioned above, can be seen as more of a cause-and-effect relationship. When you are confronted with a particular life challenge or change, such as job loss, geographic relocation, or family and financial stress, these situations can cause you to fall into a temporary or prolonged depression.

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In some cases, depression can be a combination of all of the above.

Examples of Causes of Depression

Below are some examples of situations that might lead you to experience a prolonged period of depression.

Grief

The loss of a loved one, especially when sudden and traumatic, can bring about intense feelings of loss and sadness, which can lead to clinical depression. This includes the death of pets.

Medical Issue or Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with a medical issue, especially if chronic and progressive, is much like any other loss you might experience. It represents the loss of a life you had. Very often, there will need to be changes made in one’s life that will not allow for a lifestyle previously enjoyed.

A Feeling of Failure or Perceived Shortcomings

As I mentioned, people who experience depression tend to be sensitive and self-critical. You might be struggling with not getting a job promotion or failing to progress in the way you imagined for yourself, but this doesn’t mean that you are not progressing in some other way.

Sudden Life Change

Changes—even good changes and welcomed changes—are hard. Sometimes, these changes can have an impact on your role and status in society like marriage or parenthood, which are both wonderful changes yet fraught with many challenges and new social roles.

Feeling Trapped or With Limited Options

Having options is both a blessing and a curse. We know that the more options we have, the less happy we are and the more anxious we might tend to feel, wanting and needing to make the right decision. However, on the flip side, the idea that you don’t have any options can also lead to feeling trapped and feeling that your life circumstances are already written in stone.

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Burnout

Job stress, being overworked and underpaid, or the lack of fulfillment in your profession can lead to depression, which might also coincide with the feeling of being trapped and feeling as though you don’t have many options in your life and career.

What Can You Do If You Experience Depression?

It may sometimes feel as though, out of nowhere, that you are hit with depression, and this is true for many people who have a biologically based depression. However, I would argue that whenever there is something like depression or anxiety—which are defense mechanisms—there is something in your life that is not 100% congruent with who you are and where your life is at or going.

This essentially means that it’s time to take a step back and reassess a few things in life. It doesn’t mean that you will be able to wright the ship entirely. However, you might be able to make some small changes that will help you feel more in control of your life and the direction that you are going in.

1. Consider Therapy

Therapy will help you take stock and think about what is happening in your life and where you might be able to make some changes. Needless to say, you will also have the support you need to embark on making those changes. It could also be a chance to identify what it is in your life that is causing the depression. A therapist can also help you connect to other supports that might help you as you work through this period in your life.

2. Group Support Network

Processing hurt and pain through the group experience is a powerful method of connecting with yourself and others who might be experiencing similar challenges. Part of the value of group experience is knowing that you are not alone and that you have support not just from professionals but also from other people just like you.

3. Self Assessment

Self-assessment involves assessing where you are in your life in relation to your life goals, your relationships, and the direction that you are headed. Maybe it is time to make a pivot and change course, which could be a very scary thing. Bringing this kind of information to therapy will be very valuable and will assist you in the therapeutic process.

4. Take Some Time Off

Taking some time off will be and can be helpful in many ways. If you are experiencing burnout, this will give you more time for self-care and help you give yourself a break. Moreover, taking a time off gives you more time to do some of the things I described above in therapy, group work, and self-assessment.

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5. Are You Bored?

Sometimes, when we lack stimulation or work in a job for which we are overqualified, we might find ourselves feeling underutilized and as if we are not meeting our potential. This would, hopefully, come out in a self-assessment and could indicate the need to make a change in your work life.

Depression and Suicide

Depression is a serious mental health disorder. Thirty to seventy percent of deaths by suicide are attributed to major depression or bipolar disorder.[4] If you or someone you love is experiencing depression and expresses thoughts or statements about death and suicide, consult with your medical professional or mental health counselor. People who receive treatment for depression have an 80 to 90% rate of success from therapy and/or medication.

Suffice to say, if you get the treatment you need for depression, your chances of recovering skyrocket. Again, as I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to live with depression. Get the right treatment,[5] and you can have a whole new lease on life.

Final Thoughts

Depression is a mood disorder that is characterized by feelings of sadness for a long period of time. Many people throughout their lives will experience some depression in varying degrees. If you notice that what you are experiencing resembles any of what I have described above, please know that you can make changes and you can live a life free of depression. Getting help, support, and treatment is essential to addressing the depression or changes in your life that might need to be considered.

More Tips on Coping With Depression

Featured photo credit: Paola Chaaya via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The World Health Organization: Depression
[2] NCBI: The DSM-5: Classification and Criteria Changes
[3] OASH: Office on women’s Health: Effects of domestic violence on children
[4] Mental Health America: Suicide
[5] Upside Down Flan: The Best Treatment for Depression

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