August 12, 2015

Life Hacks // How to Maintain a Clear Mind

If you're like me, overthinking is the norm. I overthink ev-er-y-thing, especially when I'm feeling particularly upset, excited, sad, annoyed, anxious, creative, busy, complacent, stressed... Do you see where I'm going here? My brain is always on overdrive. I hoard A LOT of thoughts and feelings in there; tons of stuff I really don't need, or that I need to release before they consumes me.

Overthinking / a cluttered mind can wear you out. I haven't mastered how to calm my mind down yet, but I recently (over the last few months) got to a point where something had to give, or I was literally going to go out of my mind. I was starting to feel like what those throwback public service announcements described  (Remember? "This is your brain. [Insert visual of an egg.] This is your brain on drugs. [Insert visual of an egg being fried.]"  only I never got to escape with a high. That had to change.

There are a few practices that have always helped me during the times when my overactive mind just wouldn't calm down, but I still had to operate effectively in my many daily tasks like the rest of us. I'm sharing them here now because I've grown to embrace and appreciate them more than ever of late. My personal favorites are: (1) prayer, (2) communication, and (3) having a creative outlet.

1. Pray
Suggesting prayer might sound like a cliché, or an "old church mother" saying, but let me tell you, even when you don't feel like it's working, it's helping. They say, "Prayer changes things," but really it changes us. When there are some thoughts, feelings, or even situations better left unsaid, prayer is definitely worth trying out. It's low-risk (unlike sharing with people, although if in the true form of confidence, sharing with others has its unique benefits as well), and it's therapeutic. For some, meditation provides the same benefits. I recommend both. Can't hurt.

2. Communicate
For consuming thoughts that result directly from relationships with others, we often forget the power of communication. Even if we genuinely want to communicate, we might hesitate due to fear of not getting our points across clearly, not being heard, or being looked at differently. Whatever the case may be, don't let fear stifle you. The alternative  harboring negativity, bitterness, resentment, anger, or even a positive thought that could blossom into something beautiful  is not worth it. Just ask the person or people for a listening ear before you start sharing, and pour your heart out. If it doesn't turn out as planned, you'll at least feel better about yourself for trying. Also, you can always try again.

3. Have a Creative Outlet
Releasing creative energy is one of my favorite ways to clear my mind and turn negativity into positivity. It's the main reason why I created this blog. I love having a space where I can be in complete creative control and have the freedom to be 100% me. Whether your creative outlet is writing, painting, dancing, creating music, or gardening, find something that you enjoy that takes you to a place where you can disconnect from reality for a while. After spending time doing something positive, it's hard to react to negative vibes again.

To my over-thinkers, here's to clear minds! 

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