We all feel worn out from thinking now and then, I sure know I do!
I tend to over-think things, I always have. I have a deep rooted paranoia that I might make a mistake if I don’t think things through a few times. Then I’m concerned I may make a mistake if I don’t double check what I have done, or even triple check…you get the idea.
If you are thinking you’re the same, then you know how if feels to be mentally worn out. Kind of burnt-out at times is another way to describe it. But don’t despair, there are some relaxing techniques for your mind.
In years gone by I would compound the problem by continuing to think about it, and getting myself all wound up and in a mental twist. But I decided to find ways to deal with over-thinking, and now it’s no longer a bother to me.
So why is it beneficial to conquer this problem? Well you see, over-thinking things depletes your energy both mentally and physically. It stifles creativity, spontaneity and free-thought. Leaving you stressing out over little things and being anxious of the result.
But over-thinking things probably isn’t the sole reason why you feel mentally exhausted. The day-to-day demands can become overbearing too, leading to us trying to remember and juggle a high number of things. We’re required to be alert at work all day, then take care of our personal lives in the time we have in the evenings.
If you are lacking in other areas of your life like, lack of sleep due to bad sleep habits, poor nutrition, or too little exercise, your brain is going to be running less than optimal to start with. So there are a number of areas to address when trying to get the best out of yourself, your brain, and your day.
If you find yourself feeling stressed, don’t be alarmed – you’re not alone. We can only do so much before needing a break, and most of us are expected to do too much. The brain has two separate networks, one for daydreaming, and the other for processing tasks. You need to find a good balance between both networks throughout the day to function at optimal performance.
It seems like most of us are in a trap of spending far too much time using the processing part of our brains. Not allowing ourselves time to relax and daydream. Think about where you were and what you were doing last time you had a creative idea, I doubt it was when you were feeling burnt out.
Here are 10 relaxing techniques for your mind, you can practice these at intervals during the day. You will certainly feel better for it.
Start a Journal
Being in a vicious circle of having too many thoughts going round in your head can feel like you’re trapped. Trapped by all the thoughts, with trying to think about no thinking becoming a paradox. By writing these thoughts down on paper you are helping to release them.
It’s kind of like a brain dump, and it’s worked wonders for me in the past. First thing in the morning is possibly the best time, if you wake up with a head buzzing about all the things you need to do that day. Just jot them all down on a piece of paper, take that with you, and refer to it throughout the day.
You may have noticed that I made the point of saying to write these thoughts down on paper. This is because writing takes a little more time and thought, as opposed to a quick note on your phone. It’s a more engaging way of making notes, and you will be more connected with the words.
I tend to just write freely without too much thought, after all the idea is to free yourself of thoughts. Don’t over analyze what you write, in fact some people never read it again. It’s just purely an exercise for therapeutic reasons.
Practice Visualization and Mental Imagery
You may have heard of mental imagery. It’s a very effective technique for relaxing your mind. To do this, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, then imagine a calm or relaxing scene. It takes some practice, you will can achieve this in a calm setting.
You may want to think about a beautiful landscape, some calm nature, or yourself softly floating. Allow yourself to think deeply into the visualization, imagine the sounds of birds or a soft breeze. Make it as realistic as you possibly can.
The good thing about visualization is that you can practice this anytime, or anyplace you can gets some peace and quiet. You can do it on your lunch break at work, last thing at night, it’s up to you. There are audio tracks available too if you want to listen with headphones.
Find Your Ultradian Rhythm
We all go through 90 minutes cycles and five stages of sleep. There are also 90 minute patterns throughout our days too. These patterns are known as ultradian rhythms, allowing us to go through higher and lower levels of alertness.
This rhythm means that we go through periods of being alert and aware, followed by periods of rest. Tapping into these rhythms means we can find our periods of mental awareness. When we are going through a cycle of low alertness, we are relying on our minds to push us through – causing a higher amount of stress.
Try taking a break every 90 minutes, you’ll feel much more mentally refreshed and ready to enter another 90 minute cycle.
Meditate for Shorter Periods
I have discussed in detail some of the benefits of meditation. You can clear your mind, relieve stress, and enter a state of free-thoughts. You can achieve a state of relaxation that will help both your mind and body relax.
If you are experiencing chaotic and stressful days considering taking short 5-10 minute meditation sessions. If you’ve had a particularly busy morning take 10 minutes at lunch to meditate, or maybe as soon as you get home in preparation for the evening ahead.
Take a Holiday, Vacation or Staycation
The focus here is not the vacation itself, but removing yourself from your hectic work and home life schedules. If you use your vacation to get away from it all and relax (leave the laptop at home), you can recharge your brain.
Research has shown that your brains do not have a reserve of energy to call on, more so we can reset and feel more relaxed and start again going forward. So time away from work is a very important part of recharging.
Take a Power Nap
Taking a power nap during the day can really give your brain a relaxing break. Don’t let this break your sleeping habits, but done correctly it can really help. If you have an hour lunch break, a 30 minute nap can really set you up for the afternoon.
There are many studies showing evidence that just a 10 minute nap can improve a person’s level of awareness, cognitive function, and physical fatigue.
Do Some Daydreaming
This might sound a little strange. Most of you are probably thinking that daydreaming is a sign of boredom, and not engaging for your brain. Well, there are studies that prove daydreaming is a sign of your brain engaging in some stimulating activity.
It can boost your mood, reduce depression and stress, and stimulate creativity. Daydreaming about something pleasant and calm is a great way to give your brain a relaxing break.
Listen to Music While Walking in Nature
A lot of us living in the city don’t get the chance to spend much time with nature. Try taking a walk or hike in nature, I’m sure you can find some nature trails or fields. You’ll feel the stress relieving benefits almost instantly, maybe even a meditative state of mind.
Music is known to boost a person’s mood, confidence, concentration and social skills. So load up your mp3 player with some of your favorite tracks, a find somewhere peaceful to take a walk.
Focus on One Task at a Time
There is nothing to boast about if you can multitask several things at once. Not only has multitasking been proven to largely be ineffective, but it puts extra stress on your brain. Focusing on one task at a time will not only ensure a higher level of concentration, but less stress.
When you need to concentrate on a task, turn off your phone, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door, and give it your undivided focus. You will save mental energy, and benefit in the long run.
Break up Your Day into Parts
Having a long list of things to do throughout the day can feel mentally exhausting. So make a list of those tasks, and section them into different parts. While working on a set of tasks don’t allow any distractions such as email, or phone calls interrupt.
Knowing exactly what you are going to do per section of your day is a lot less mentally taxing. You can even allocate a time slot to relax your mind as per one of the above suggestions.
In this fast-paced world we live in, it’s all but impossible not to feel overwhelmed by all the information and thoughts we are processing. Our minds are constantly processing large amounts of information, we’re receiving emails, texts, and more.
By following the steps above, you’ll be able to relax your mind and relieve the symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, and even illness. Be self-aware of how you’re feeling, both mentally and physically. Act on any signs that you’re mentally fatigued.