What causes an uncalm mind?There are times you will have very real concerns which cause anxiety and unrest, resulting in you being unable to make rational decisions. Sometimes, however, there are worries based on scenarios or factors that don’t yet exist. Typical concerns of this type include:
- Being anxious about the future
- Concerns that the decision you make will be the wrong one
- Being overly concerned with what other people may think of you
Other factors that may lead to a restless mind include:
- Outside influences – taking on other people’s worries as your own.
- Having too many options from which to choose and not knowing which is the best for you.
- Impending deadlines – although some people thrive on stringent deadlines, others find them stressful.
- Lack of sleep – according to the mental health charity Mind, mental health and wellbeing can be affected by lack of sleep, causing a cycle of stress, worry, tiredness, and low self-esteem.
How can I calm my mind?Firstly, it’s extremely important that if you're feeling depressed or anxious on a daily basis for more than a short period of time, you should visit your GP or healthcare practitioner for advice. However, if you aren’t thinking clearly because of an event or decision in your life, or you find decision-making tricky at times, there are things you can do to help.
Get plenty of sleep
Design a sleep routine that works for you and try to stick to it as much as possible. This could be having a warm bath before bed or reading a book before you go to sleep. Make sure you avoid screens or devices for an hour before bed as the blue light they give out can confuse the body and cut down on alcohol and caffeine as they can lead to a restless night. You are less likely to feel anxious if you've had a good eight hours' sleep and will be able to face the next day’s decisions with a clearer mind. Read more about the importance of sleep >
Put pen to paper
Writing things down so you can see them in front of you can make decision-making much easier. Write about the decision you are about to make and the possible outcomes. Make a pros and cons list, or simply write about how you visualise the result of the decision you make. Writing about a decision, rather than just thinking about it, can help you think critically about the subject rather than just emotively. Read more about the benefits of putting pen to paper >
Practised on a regular basis, mindfulness has been shown to actually change the structure of the brain. This means that not only will mindfulness help you feel calmer and more in control in the shorter term, but over time, you will be less likely to slip into unhelpful thinking patterns too. For more information about mindfulness and how to get started, visit our webpage >