How to Quiet Your Mind

“be gentle with yourself”

 

Do you feel trapped within yourself? Are these thoughts / feelings racing through your head:

I am incompetent, I can’t do it, I want to give up, my heart is beating so fast, it feels like I’m breathing through a straw that is getting smaller and smaller with every breath, it feels like my body is permanently sunk into my mattress, I’m much too familiar with the details of the ceiling above my bed, I can’t even get up for water, time feels fake, my hands look fake, existence is heavy, living is weird, thinking is weird, being outside is weird, being inside is weird, everything is weird, please just relax, I shouldn’t be thinking this way, I’m stupid, this is dumb, I’m so ungrateful, just be happy, stop being like this, why are you like this, stop, stop it, I am incompetent, I can’t do it, I want to give up, I’m just so tired you know, I’m really tired

Well, then here is How to Quiet Your Mind.*

*Not all of these tips are possible or practical for everyone, but I encourage readers to modify parts of this exercise to suit individual needs and comforts*

Find someplace safe and comfortable, like the couch in your lounge or a sunny patch of grass outside, because right now your bed feels like a black hole. Breathe, please breathe––take the outside in, breathe the inside out. Breathe in through your nostrils and out through your mouth. Be gentle with yourself if you can.

(pause)

When you feel your heart rate slow, start paying attention to the way each breath travels through your body––your stomach expands, your ribs spread like two swan wings, your chest protrudes, and as you exhale, feel your body sigh, wings closing with tender grace.

(pause)

Now, listen. Listen, like you are an ocean and each breath is the far-off, foamy crash of a wave, or a passing gust of salty sea wind. Listen to the sounds around you, and let them filter in without judgment or identification. Try to just listen to them as pure sounds.

(pause)

Turn your attention to the surfaces that are touching your skin, like clothes, other parts of your body, the ground or air. Then, try to filter these sensations in without judgment or identification. Think about how it feels to feel anything at all.

(pause)

Wander through your body, like a loving groundskeeper. Start from the very top of your head, as if you had a wand of bright healing light. As you wander, bring your mind’s attention to any tensions or pains or aches––surround them with light and love, breathing in the healing and breathing out the hurt.

(pause)

Explore every inch of your body, from that lovely cranium you never really get to see, down past your eyebrows, moving over every surface of your body, down to the tip of each finger, past your hips and knees, down to the tip of each toe.

(pause)

Wrap every part of yourself with light, breath it in and breath it out, breath it up and breath it down. Fill yourself up to the brim with this love, and just keep breathing. Repeat these steps until you decompress, until your mind has reached a quiet place.