Mindfulness: Quiet the Noise

The last couple of years, I have felt like my mind has been getting louder. It’s in this “on” mode 24/7, and I can’t seem to shut it off. I feel like I have lost any sort of mindfulness. I have written other posts about how this affects sleep, causing insomnia, sleepless nights, and also intruding on our daily lives in a domino effect during our waking hours when we are expected to be at our most present. Why is it that we are now having even more trouble shutting off our brains and being in the present?

Stress is one of the “usual suspects” when you can’t seem to stop thinking. Stress causes your body to release cortisol, and cortisol helps you stay alert. This means that your brain stays alert, too — even when you don’t want it to. ~PsychCentral

It can be challenging to quiet the constant chatter of our minds and truly be present in the moment. However, practicing mindfulness can help us cultivate a sense of calm and focus, allowing us to fully engage with the world around us. Here are some tips I have found useful on how to shut off your mind and be present.

Practice Deep Breathing

Take a few moments each day to focus on your breath. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This simple practice can help calm your mind and bring you into the present moment.

Engage in Meditation

Set aside time each day for meditation, even if it’s just a few minutes. Find a quiet space, sit comfortably, and focus on your breath or a mantra. Meditation can help quiet the mind and increase your awareness of the present moment. I have personally tried apps like Calm, which has helped me relax and even sleep better.

Limiting Distractions for Mindfulness

In our digital age, it’s easy to get caught up in constant notifications and distractions. Try to limit your screen time, especially before bed, and create boundaries around when and how you engage with technology. We have a rule in my house: everyone must shut off their cell phones and eat at the dinner table during dinner time in order to avoid distractions and to be present for one another.

Practice Gratitude

Take time each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. This can help shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive ones, allowing you to appreciate the present moment more fully. You can start a gratitude journal or even make a box, decorate it, and each day, write on a sticky note a list of 2 or 3 things that you are thankful for.

Engage Your Senses

Pay attention to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures around you. Engaging your senses can help ground you in the present moment and foster a sense of mindfulness. You can try activities that incorporate using your senses.

Take Breaks for Mindfulness

Give yourself permission to take breaks throughout the day to reset and recharge. Step outside for some fresh air, go for a short walk, or simply sit in stillness and observe your surroundings. Other options include: taking a hike, getting out of the house and visiting a coffee shop, or running an errand you’ve been meaning to get done. 

Let Go of Judgment

Practice non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts and feelings. Instead of getting caught up in self-criticism or worry, simply observe your thoughts without attaching meaning to them.

Try some of these steps and see if you can learn to quiet your mind, be present in the moment, and cultivate a greater sense of mindfulness in your life. Remember, mindfulness is a skill that takes time and practice to develop, so be patient. Once you can master this even a little, I promise you will be more present for yourself, friends, and family. 

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