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11 Ways to Make Your Mind Calm and Peaceful

11 Ways to Make Your Mind Calm and Peaceful

Many of us live with a level of persistent low-grade stress that becomes so normalised that most of the time, we don’t even realise it’s there.

While we might not be displaying obvious signs of stress, cortisol—the hormone associated with stress—wreaks havoc on our mental and physical health over the long-term. Therefore it’s important to make time to clear our minds and bring some peace into our lives, even if we’re not feeling particularly anxious.

Here are 11 suggestions you can use to make your mind calm and peaceful.

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Make time to meditate

Meditation has a number of positive effects on mind and body. It’s also deceptively hard, which is why many people try it once or twice but struggle to make it a regular habit. Meditation helps combat the physical and emotional affects of stress and has lasting benefits that affect your productivity, as well as your ability to relax. Set aside time to meditate for just 10 minutes a day over the next week or two and experience the benefits for yourself.

Focus on gratitude

When we’re facing a series of challenges, it can be easy to slip into tunnel vision and focus on what’s going wrong at the expense of noticing what’s going well. Even taking the time to write down just three things each day that we feel grateful for can help reinstate a balanced perspective on our day-to-day experience.

Notice internal judgements

While many of us fear judgement from others, the harshest criticisms we experience are often self-inflicted. Nothing clutters and stresses the mind like internal self-judgements, so pay attention to your thought patterns and notice when your inner critic rears up. Being aware of these thoughts as they occur is the first, and most important, step towards replacing criticism with calm.

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Practice self-compassion

Once we are able to notice our self-criticisms and judgements in the moment, we have a chance to practice self-compassion. This means acknowledging and accepting reality, and extending the same kind of compassion to ourselves that we would to a good friend in our situation. In doing this, we stop measuring ourselves against different standards compared to other people.

Distance yourself from negative self-talk and beliefs

We can’t necessarily stop ourselves experiencing negative self-talk and beliefs but we can distance ourselves from them. Using the phrase “I notice that…[I’m judging myself harshly for forgetting that file this morning]” whenever we identify a negative self-judgement or belief helps us see these beliefs for what they really are: opinions, rather than facts.

Set routines

Setting routines might sound like a recipe for boredom but it actually helps instil a day-to-day sense of peace in our minds. When we have set routines, we have less decisions to make during the day. This frees up space in our minds for bigger, more important tasks.

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Keep a journal

Journaling is a great way to get our thoughts out of our heads and onto paper. Writing down our most pressing thoughts and worries each day has a similar effect to talking to someone about them. By making time to journal, you’re giving yourself the chance to process your thoughts and feelings, and to express them in a safe, private space.

Create a to-do list

Similar to journaling, writing down your tasks and projects helps clear your mind. If you find that various activities and reminders keep popping into your head and distracting you from the task at hand, a system like Getting Things Done can help increase your productivity and your mental calm.

Exercise

It’s a well-known fact that exercise augments our sense of mental well-being. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercising for just 10 minutes can release endorphins, pain-killing chemicals that help induce a state of mental and physical peace.

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Experiment

Finally, it’s important to remember that everyone is different. What helps one person find peace and calm might have the opposite effect on the next. As you go about your day, notice the times when you feel most at ease and make note of what you’re doing at that time. Experiment with the methods above, as well as your own suggestions, and create your own list of activities that help your mind find clarity and relaxation.

More by this author

Hannah Braime

Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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