Do you lie awake at night because your mind is racing with thoughts? I’ve often experienced this myself and I’ve wished I could just clear my mind so I could wind down. There are ways to do this, you just need to know how. Here are some of the best tips to clear your mind.
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Our bodies get rest every night, but our brains rarely do. We have thoughts bouncing around in our heads all day. At night we dream.
Giving your brain a rest can do wonders for your mental and physical health. And if you can clear your mind of thoughts during the day I find it helps to calm your mind down at night to get to sleep more easily.
Unfortunately, the natural state of your brain is to generate thoughts. While this can be a good characteristic, it doesn’t help if it’s causing you to suffer from insomnia each night.
The only way to clear your mind is to actively do something to make that happen. Your brain will just continue to make noise if you try a passive approach.
Tips to clear your mind and give it a rest
You can start with one of these tips and then move on to another. Don’t try everything at once or you may just end up with more stress which will only increase the chance of insomnia.
It is often said that when you’re meditating you’re clearing your mind.
This sounds perfect for the purpose of clearing your mind to sleep better at night, but it is only partly true.
When you’re meditating you should try to focus on one thing. You don’t actually need to “clear the mind” as the purpose of your meditation.
You should focus on one thing like your breathing and when your mind wanders, you bring your mind back to that one focus. You don’t consciously aim to clear your mind.
Is meditation really clearing the mind or something else?
Because you’re focused on one thing, you’re really clearing your mind by substituting the thoughts with one focus, your breathing.
Meditation is seen as a direct method for clearing your mind because that’s really the purpose of it for many people. The other options on this list accomplish clearing of the mind as a side effect.
Meditation is as simple as can be, but deceptively challenging. It challenges your mind and your body. It’s not easy to sit still and keep your mind only focused on one thing but this is how you achieve the benefits of meditation.
Strenuous exercise is a great way to clear your mind. There’s something about using your body that stops the chatter going on between your ears. Casual exercise won’t work in most cases. You need to really work.
Of course, you shouldn’t just launch into strenuous exercise if you haven’t been doing any exercise at all. You’ll need to build up your fitness at an appropriate rate and check with your physician before starting. Once you’re able to undertake strenuous exercise then you can really use it to clear your mind when you feel the need.
Another important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t do strenuous exercise just before bedtime. This is an activity for day time but it can help you clear your mind to sleep better at night.
3. Mowing the Grass
A monotonous activity can also be helpful to clear your mind. Walking to and fro across a lawn as you’re mowing it, can work.
Other activities include driving in low traffic situations, taking a shower, or washing the dishes. Perhaps you could do the ironing. Your mind can partially shut down and relax.
Just be sure that the activity is monotonous but not stressful. If it is stressful then it’s not going to help.
Any activity can help to clear your mind if you focus fully on it. You can experience a mind clearing effect while changing your oil, reading a book (even a book on Mindfulness for Beginners), or doing laundry. Focus is one way to clear and calm your mind.
Perhaps there’s a hobby you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve never had time for. If you want to start quilting or knitting you can do it in a mindful way and help clear the mind.
Choose an activity that is calm and not stressful, focus your full attention and pay attention to every detail of what you’re doing. By being mindful, you are living in the present. You focus on what you’re doing and do not think about other distractions that are filling your thoughts.
Cleaning your home or workspace can do wonders for the thoughts racing around in your head. A clean and tidy space creates calm and serenity. If you declutter mindfully, you’ll be getting twice the benefit.
A zen garden with sand and pebbles along with mini garden rake can be calming. It is a wonderful mindful activity.
You could use a zen garden in the evening to calm your mind down before going to bed. You can use it as part of your evening routine.
After you’ve decluttered you may also want to consider adding an indoor plant to your home or office. A living green plant can be a source of calmness indoors and it also purifies the indoor air. Focusing on the green leaves of a plant can help you clear your mind as another form of mindfulness.
6. Make Lists
When you have a lot to do, your brain is working overtime to keep everything straight. Using a simple list can empty out your brain. You won’t believe how much this can help. Lists can release a lot of resources being used by your brain.
In my personal experience, the trick to using lists is to only have one list at a time.
If you start more than one list you’ll find that your mind is getting distracted by remembering how many lists you have and where they are.
If you have one list that is always kept in the one place this will help you to clear your mind. I like to use a notebook that I bought specially for my list.
My one exception to the “one list policy” is that I have one list for home and one list for work – but that’s the limit!
By writing everything on each of these lists it helps me to sleep better at night because I know I don’t have to worry about remembering everything I have to do the next day or the day after that.
7. Doing Something Exciting
It’s believed that many people are attracted to extreme sports like base jumping because of the clearing effect it has on the brain. If you leap off a skyscraper with a parachute on your back, you’re not worrying about paying the water bill at that moment.
But, lets face it, most people are not going to start base jumping. You can choose an intense activity that works for you.
For example, if you find public speaking intimidating perhaps you could join a speaking club and give a speech in front of the members. For many people this is a scary and intense activity. By doing this you are clearing your mind from other thoughts.
Obviously this is not a good idea if you’re suffering from chronic stress. If this is you then try one of the other ideas to clear you mind. You really don’t want to increase the already high levels of cortisol in your body.
A nice walk, especially after dark or before sunrise can be very calming. The dark helps because you’re less visually stimulated. The repetitive nature of walking can be an effective way to clear out the cobwebs. Your brain is also busy moving your feet and maintaining your balance.
If you’re not fit enough for strenuous exercise then walking at an appropriate time of the day may be exactly what you need. It is easy to do and it’s free. You don’t need special equipment or special clothing. Just get yourself up off the couch and go for a calming walk at a calming time of the day.
9. Playing with a Pet
Pets are soothing and enjoyable. Sitting on the deck with your dog or curled up on the couch with your cat can be a soothing activity. Petting an animal really can help you calm and clear your mind.
If you’re trying to wind down for the evening then a pet can help. By slowing down and petting your dog or cat you’ll find yourself calmer.
There’s something special about pets. They make few demands and are always happy with you. If only people were so easy!
Try to clear your mind at least once each day. Certain activities are better for earlier in the day and some are good as part of your evening routine before bed.
You’ll find over time that your mind will naturally calm down, but it takes time. Your brain is a thought-producing machine that can run wild if not managed.
Clearing your mind is an active process. There are many ways to accomplish it. Experiment and discover what works for you. But you will need to decide which tip to use. If you don’t try any of these activities you’ll never really clear your mind.
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