How to Calm Your Mind

By Grace Marks
Special to the Times

Sept. 12, 2013

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When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or overloaded, it's hard to think clearly and be at your best.

As your mind races about the past, future, or the never-ending to-do list, you are no longer in the present moment. The beauty of the precious present is lost and many times things out of your control.

Most of us feel there is just not enough time in the day, which can leave us feeling anxious, guilty or sad. In today's culture we are defined by how productive we are so we become more focused on doing rather than being.

There are a number of ways to calm your mind and regain your balance.

One key step is to develop a new relationship with time. You can start by creating a greater awareness of the present moment.

Become a master of the pause, recommends Dr. Stephan Rechtschaffen. Find pause breaks throughout your day whether praying before a meal or taking a few quiet unrushed breaths before a meeting or phone call. By noticing your breathing pattern your mind naturally quiets and pays more attention to the present moment.

Go outdoors or play some soothing music to shift your rhythm from high speed.

It's important to replenish your energy reserves or keep your cup full by taking pause for yourself. There has to be a little left over without any productivity or to do's attached to it. Find those few minutes for something that truly fills you up and makes you feel good. If nothing comes to mind, practice slowing down your pace and paying attention to your environment.

Listen to the world around you -- the birds, insects, children playing. The moment is all around you. Tap your other senses of smell and touch as you walk to your car, drive home from work, or run errands.


Just turning off your electronic devices for an hour can move you into the moment without all the distractions. Think calming thoughts. Visualize a favorite special place from childhood. Take yourself back to a peaceful time. Visualization is a powerful tool to make the shift to a calmer mind.

Just do it. Be spontaneous and do something different that you have wanted to do or try. See a movie, call a friend or relative, or just spend some quality time with your loved ones.

Learn from your children. They don't worry about the future; they play and enjoy every moment for what it is. They haven't yet learned to think ahead or be preoccupied with the past.

These are all investments in yourself that will reenergize you, calm your mind, and create more health and balance. Keep these calming or "pause" techniques handy to quickly diminish anxiety so you are in the right frame of mind to make good decisions and minimize any overload.

Grace Marks, MPH, CPC, is a certified life coach, motivational speaker, stress management instructor, and workplace makeover specialist with Native Empowerment: Solutions for Health and Harmony providing customized training programs for tribal organizations and businesses. If you have any questions or comments, or have ideas for future health columns, please direct them to Grace@NativeEmpowerment.com or visit www.nativeempowerment.com.

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