Have you ever felt like life is passing you by and you are unable to slow it down? Chances are, if you are like me, you have trouble slowing down and maintaining control of your mind. I will share my favorite actionable, 10 ways to slow down your mind in this post.
Being a serial entrepreneur, I am no stranger to a racing mind so I want to share these 10 ways to slow down your mind. This is something that I consistently have to work on but am conscious and aware of it and will continue to follow these proven steps.
I want to preface this list with an important note about trying out some or all of these options. You first must take it seriously, set an intention, and a time frame of what you want to accomplish and when. For instance, if you want to try journaling, do not do it for two days then tire of it. If you set the intention to give it 5 minutes a day for 2 weeks, you are making a commitment to a realistic timeframe to see if it (a) can inspire you or (b) can become a daily routine that you actually enjoy and benefits you. This will help to ensure that you set yourself up for success.
Without further ado, the 10 ways to slow down your mind:
I put meditation first on the list because while it may be an obvious method, some people tend to feel intimidated or have the biggest hang-up with it. You do not have to go to a temple or wear certain clothing or hold your hands in lotus position on your lap. Meditation is simply sitting with yourself, and probably the most personal of all disciplines as it is just you, your breath and your mind.
Some people can sit up tall, rest their eyes, and quiet their minds. Most of us have a hard time silencing all the swirling thoughts, especially at the beginning of our practice. I typically try to take deep, slow breaths and look beyond the center-point of my forehead. This empty space that I find there is beyond my being and quiet. When a thought pops up in my mind, I simply label it and gently say to myself “thinking.” And let the thought dissipate. There is no judgement, it is very natural for thoughts to come in and out. And when they do, gently acknowledge the thought and let it go with your breath.
If this sounds too new-age for you, I get it. Just find a comfortable space and time that works best for you and choose to sit and be there with your breath, in the now.
If you are technology-driven then you may try an app called Headspace. It is free for 10 days and then you can choose to subscribe or not. It might be a great 10 day primer to get you started and then you can take the teachings and build your own routine from there. I have no connection to Headspace so this is not a payment-driven recommendation, just another option.
I understand that the purpose for meditation is to remove ourselves from technology but this could be a great start on your way to making the space to fully disconnect.
There are also many groups and organizations located in cities around the world where you can be taught their method for meditation.
2. Embracing Silence
We tend to think of silence as a bad thing in our society. Some of us can’t even go to bed without the comfort of white noise, be it the sound of a fan or music. Some people listen to music and do not get to appreciate silence at all. From home, to the car, to work, and home again, all while listening to music. Wayne Dyer reminds us that it is the silence in music that makes music possible.
“Imagine, if you can, music without pauses or silent spaces. Without the pauses for silence, the music would be one infinitely long note of noise. What we call music would be impossible.” -Wayne Dyer
Thus, we should treat our day like music and take pauses throughout to slow the mind and embrace the silence. Here you can collect your thoughts, gain clarity and quiet the mind.
I am addicted to journaling. I do it daily. Here’s why: I do it daily is because it has helped me immensely at making the most out of my days. More specifically, it helps me with gratitude, daily affirmations, and accountability.
Not all journals are created equal and the task of journaling is actually not a task to me anymore, it has become part of my daily routine— almost a ritual.
I credit journaling with starting me down this path. To begin the day, I write down three things that I am grateful for, three things that will make today great, and daily affirmations. To end the day, I write down three amazing things that happened today, and how I could have made today better. I will share the link for the journal that I use below; but first I will preface this with the fact that I will be moving on to a different journal once this one is full. I feel prepared to write more freely and more in depth, but this was a great introduction to journaling becoming part of my daily existence.
Amazon Link: The Five Minute Journal by Intelligent Change
4. Tidying Up
This method has multiple meanings. Sure, you can tidy your physical space like your desk, your room, and your house. However, you can also tidy your mental space and let go of all the things that no longer serve you. If you have less clutter in your life, your mind will naturally have less to race about.
Have you ever sat down at work to begin a project and before you can even start on the task you have to tidy your desk?
There is a reason behind this.
In order for your mind to focus, it desires a clean area. The outside clutter can amplify the internal clutter. I learned about this concept from a great book based on the author’s name called the “KonMari Method.” The book focuses on tidying up your home which can in-turn lead to garbage bags of clutter removed from your life in both a physical and mental sense.
I interpreted the concept of the book more figuratively and applied the teachings to my personal space as well as my mental and physical space. I’ve since noticed significant changes to my overall well-being.
Link: The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I am a firm believer in the benefits of regular massage. Not only is it great for your muscles and physical well being, it is also a great way to relax your mind . When I get a massage, I feel like I am able to think more clearly.
Why is that?
You typically do not talk to the masseuse after the massage starts. This leaves you with a soothing hour (or half-hour— your choice) to clear your mind completely or gather your thoughts so you can think clearly. Most massage studios or spas will offer a monthly subscription which can let you make this a routine.
6. Flotation Tank (Sensory Deprivation Tank)
Float Spas have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the calming nature of the experience.
What is a flotation tank?
Interestingly enough, it is not exactly referred to as a “tank,” and for good reason… As you have probably guessed, there is nothing really redeeming about the word “tank” LOL. It is commonly called a “pod.” The pod is filled with magnesium-based Epsom salt and water. The Epsom salt is what causes you to float. The Epsom salt is also beneficial when absorbed into the body.
Why is Sensory Deprivation in the heading of this method?
The pod is dark, silent, and you are weightless. It feels like what I would imagine floating in outer space would be like. You have no ground or connection to anything. Though you might bounce off the sides here and there like an old screensaver with words floating around, it is not common. Your senses are being deprived because there is nothing for you to see, hear, touch, feel, smell. Think of it as the exact opposite of a night in Las Vegas.
It is a great place to clear your mind or collect your thoughts. Like massages, most float spas typically offer subscriptions that allow you to make floating a part of your routine. And some well being centers offer massages and floatation.
7. Free Your Ego
First, let’s define what ego means:
“The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.”
Ego-driven individuals create their own personal identities based on societal norms. However, you should not try to be what society wants you to be, you should be who you are deep down inside of your soul.
If you feel that you are carrying the burden of looking or feeling cool because you care about what others think then you should take inventory of what actually makes you happy from the inside-out and not the outside-in.
This was learned this from my childhood as I grew up doing graffiti to fit in with my peers. I was pretty notorious for painting everywhere and it fed my ego, however, I was never fulfilled. The act of graffiti didn’t feel like I was finding my greater purpose in life. Ii was just showing off for people that I didn’t necessarily care for in the first place.
This reminds me of a quote:
“Spending money you don’t have for things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like.” -Walter Slezak
This kind of behavior is the ego at work. Free your ego and you will calm the mind of chaos and unravel the layers in order to begin to understand yourself and your purpose.
8. Ride Your Bike
This option is personal to me and comes from years of saddling up and leaving it all out there on the road.
To quote Einstein:
“Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein
There are a lot of things to focus on when riding a bike and none of them have to do with your work, your deadlines, or your responsibilities. Instead, you get to focus on your breathing, your cadence, and your surroundings. If you happen to think about work or other life situations, you will typically find more clarity when out on a ride. I find it calming, and what better way to relax your mind while getting in a good physical workout.
If riding your bike is not your thing, you can also try many other forms of exercise to slow down your mind. You will find that it is hard to think too much when you are doing cardio and/or lifting weights.
Not one for the gym?
I wasn’t either until I discovered Orangetheory Fitness (OTF). It is a one-hour, high intensity, interval training workout where a trainer coaches a group class on what to do and when to do it. This was perfect for me because I always found that I was at a loss for a routine in a traditional gym. Thus, I would lift some weights here and there and then leave, not getting the most out of my time or my money.
With OTF, you sign up for a class from an app and commit to going at that time which keeps you accountable. They offer heart rate monitors that show your heart rate zone on screens throughout the facility during your workout. The trainer guides you through (from bikes/treadmills to water rowers to free weights) and what zone you should be in. Who has time to think too much with all of this going on? Exactly.
Another exercise that I cannot fail to mention here is yoga. There are many different styles and practices, all with the commonality of linking breath and movement together. It is important to maintain your balance and flexibility throughout life so I would recommend yoga as a regular practice for anyone at any age. There are many types of classes available from slower moving basic classes to faster-paced flow. Try a studio or a teacher or style out and stick with the one that resonates most with you.
10. Read A Book
You may wonder how feeding your mind can actually slow it down. Well, try reading before sleep and you will want to put the book down to fall asleep sooner than you think. Reading is calming and it also allows you to gain more knowledge at the same time.
Do you dislike reading?
I did too! I am not the type of person to pick up Beowulf and thumb through the pages in anticipation of what’s going to happen next. Maybe that will change one day. It wasn’t until I started to read subjects that were of interest to me that I took a liking to reading. I am a serial entrepreneur so what I pick up now tends to be business related. I read books like, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” by Ramit Sethi. Once I am interested in the reading it allows me to enjoy it. Now I can slow down my mind so I can focus on the subject matter.
Here are 5 books that I recommend every entrepreneur read (with Amazon links):
- Unshakeable by Tony Robbins
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
- 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
In closing, you do not need to pressure yourself to implement all 10 ways to slow down your mind at once. I started to use them each over time and pick and choose what I do and when. You should take the approach that works best for you and provides successful results.
As I stated in the beginning of this post, first put it into practice then give it time. In time they naturally become ingrained habits. Do not try things once or twice and think that you do not enjoy or appreciate it. Look to give anything at least a 2 week trial run before deciding that it is not for you. You may be fascinated to find that you like something you didn’t give a fair chance to before.
If you have techniques that you use to slow the mind please add them in the comments below. I am interested to give them a try. Cheers!