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How to Calm an Over-active Mind

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Walt Oleksy, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Psychiatrists today say stresses of modern life, economic worries, too much time spent on computers and handheld electronic devices or watching television, compounded by anxiety caused by the volatile Presidential campaign, have caused many, many people to be stressed out. Psychiatrists who say most of their patients complain they are edgy and cannot sleep are calling this “Election Stress Disorder,” although as mentioned, the stresses are more diverse. You know what they are in your life.

    A common symptom of this disorder is an over-active mind. The mind just can’t seem to stop jumping from one thing to another, often making no sense at all. There is nothing new in a very busy mind… It has been known for centuries in the East as “monkey mind.”

    Inmeditationcircles you'll often hear the term "monkey mind." The "monkey" refers to how our primate relatives are able to swing from one branch to another with awe-inspiring skill. Similarly, our minds at times bounce from one idea to another, but rather than inspire awe, the activity often fills us with anxiety. This can happen when we are under stress. Our thoughts sway fromfearon one end to desire on the other, and we can rarely focus on either for very long.

    Meditationquiets the monkey mind. While there are probably as many types of meditation as there are things to fear and wish for, all techniques are based on a system of repetition and focus.

    Find a comfortable space where you can relax. Quiet places are best for beginners. Next, sit in a chair or on a cushion and maintain an upright position that keeps your spine straight. If you sit in a chair, using a back support is fine if you need it.

    Meditation Two-Step

    The first technique is what one psychiatrist calls the "I am peaceful" meditation. Here you'll repeat a mantra, which is a word or phrase that follows your breathing patterns. By paying attention to your inhales and exhales, your breathing naturally slows down.

    The "I am peaceful" practice is as follows:

    1. While inhaling, say to yourself "I am"
    2. While exhaling, say to yourself "peaceful"


    If you've never done this before, you'll quickly realize that focusing on "I am peaceful" is easier said than done. You'll find your thoughts headed downmemorylane or shifting into the future. Your body may fidget as if a can of worms suddenly opened up in your back pocket. When this happens, which is inevitable, just return to your mantra. When the monkey mind distracts you, use both your breath and the "I am peaceful" phrase as anchors to draw you back to the present practice.

    Take the Kind and Gentle Approach

    Remember,meditation is a practice that develops focus and it does this through relaxing the body and mind. If your mind wanders, don't be critical of yourself. Harsh words are anything but relaxing, which defeats the purpose of thisact of self-care. Even if your mind wanders, you'll still feel the effects of meditation. It takes time and patience, but with consistency, staying focused will become easier and easier. Over time, you'll be rewarded with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
     
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Walt,
    I always love your relaxation posts. This is so simple: mantra (repeated neutral or positive phrase ala Herbert Benson) linked with breath, or repeated movement like walking. Ancient, simple, free, available any time, and so needed when we are under stress, including the stress of TMS symptoms, fear, and worry. Thank you.
    Andy B
     
    hecate105 likes this.
  3. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

  4. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Thanks Walt. I always think I should meditate, but rarely do it. After reading your post I feel like I want to give it another try...
     

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