Do you ever have moments where your brain is reeling and will not calm down? A noisy mind, often jokingly referred to as a “monkey brain,” can be quite frustrating to deal with every single day. If yours never entirely goes silent, it can be tough to get through everyday life in one piece.
Luckily, a noisy mind doesn’t have to remain noisy. In fact, there are ways that you can teach it to become quiet and peaceful if needed.
Here Are 8 Ways To Stop A Noisy Mind
1. Create Counter-Thoughts
When you think of negative or noisy, unwanted thoughts, counter them with newer, more positive thoughts. It sounds simple, but it’s a handy tool that is even commonly used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by professional psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists.
Humans often automatically respond to situations with negativity – it’s just part of how our minds work. As such, learning to shift your thoughts from the bad to the good can be a very crucial skill for everyday living. Here’s how to start turning your bad ideas to foolproof positive thinking:
· Test Your Reality
When you’re stuck in negativity, all you can think about is that, and it can make you feel like the world is ending when it isn’t. Take a step back and think to yourself for a moment – where’s the evidence to support your bad thoughts? Are you leaping to incorrect conclusions? What is the evidence saying?
· Consider Your Goals First
Are your negative thoughts serving any purpose? Are they propelling you towards your goals? Chances are, they’re in your way. Don’t let them be.
· Seek Out The Positive
What’s the bright side of the situation? Many times, when you focus on the bad, you accidentally block out the good things that could be seen. Look for the silver lining – even if it’s just the lesson, you will learn from the bad situation.
2. Keep A Journal
Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts in order. But you have to keep the journal in the right manner if you want it to work in quieting your mind truly. Here are some tips to make it work:
· Journal Time Is Noisy Time
Every day, tell yourself this – whenever your brain gets noisy, you must silence it and save it for your journaling time, which can range from 10 to 30 minutes. This designated time means your noisy mind will be forced to wait for its window before it can run wild, allowing you to get rid of impulsive thoughts and only have real concerns left once you get to journal time.
· It Must Be Daily
Don’t let a day go by without your journaling time. If it seems to take up too much time in a day, then reduce the number of minutes spent daily. What’s important is that you’re committed; the length of time can always be adjusted.
· Let Yourself Write Freely
While you’re in your journaling time, write about absolutely anything that your noisy brain comes up with, whether it’s fears, worries, thoughts, emotions, or anything else. Letting it all out can boost positive thinking.
· Once It’s Over, Stop
Time yourself. Once your allocated journal time is up, stop immediately and push the journal aside. You must wait for your next session tomorrow to think noisy thoughts again.
· Have A Mini-Journal For Grounding
Bring along a small notebook around with you wherever you go, and when you feel the loud thoughts begin to blow, take your small tablet and write down the stimuli around you to distract yourself. What can you see? Hear? Smell? Who are you with? What are you doing? What’s the time? Not only will this help you figure out your triggers, it will also help ground you.
3. The Connection Between a Noisy Mind and Breathing
Breathing is natural and automatic, but conscious breathing isn’t. When your thoughts are noisy, you can focus on breathing well in order to bring it all to a halt. A lot of the time, when you experience anxiety, you will take quick and brief breaths. Instead, switch your focus to long, slow breathing.
There are a few easy techniques for breathing you can try. The most basic method is not so much a technique, but an awareness:
- Place your hand on your stomach.
- Focus on feeling your stomach rise when you inhale and fall as you exhale.
- Breathe slowly and deeply for about six breaths per minute or one breath per ten seconds.
You can also practice a better version of mindful breathing like so:
- Step 1: Close your eyes and relax your gaze.
- Step 2: Focus entirely on your breathing. As you inhale and exhale, experience with full clarity, the breath entering and leaving you – how it passes through your nose, mouth, and lungs.
- Step 3: At this point, your mind may start to wander. When this happens, it’s your queue to exhale.
- Step 4: As you exhale, re-focus again back to the inhale.
There is one final technique you can use. It’s called Piko-Piko breathing, an ancient practice of Hawaiian Huna belief. The word “piko” literally means “center” or “navel.” Here’s how to do the technique:
- Step 1: Inhale deeply. Shift your focus to your head’s crown.
- Step 2: Exhale. Now, focus on your navel.
- Step 3: Continue to breathe in and out, with your focus moving between the two spots.
- Step 4: Do this until you feel calmer.
Regardless of what technique you choose, remember one thing: meditation has positive effects on stress, anxiety, and mood.
In the moment of a noisy mind, it can be difficult to find humor in the world. But laughing is highly effective. It releases positive hormones and clears your mind, sharpening it and giving you heightened concentration. Laughing immediately helps to sharpen your focus and allows you the space to breathe, think, and evaluate your choices and what could come of them.
It’s also a good idea to work on your sense of humor in general when you’re working on improving your noisy mind. Start working on finding the comedy in everyday life. Tell jokes, watch stand-up or comedic movies and shows, hang out with funny people who love to laugh, and don’t be afraid to find the humor in a situation.
5. Release Expectations
Often, piled up expectations are behind a noisy mind. When you cling to what you want to happen or thought would happen, life can have other plans, leaving you blindsided by what comes.
There’s nothing wrong with having hopes, but don’t allow them to transform into all-consuming, all-powerful desires that don’t let you prepare for the unexpected. You need to be ready for the possibility that things won’t go as you planned without fixating anxiously on that chance.
All anyone can indeed do is live each day one step at a time. If you find yourself in doubt, consider other times that things didn’t go to plan, but you still came out unscathed and even happy.
6. Distract Your Mind
When you engage a noisy mind in something else, you can distract it from its noise and chaos. Think about it – when is your mind most often still? It’s when you’re very engrossed in some other task! Engaging your mind can help you to quiet it down. You can do so by:
- Watching a show or movie
- Reading a book
- Playing a musical instrument
- Playing a video game
- Doing yoga
- Blasting music and dancing or singing along
It is essential that your task occupies your mind entirely and not only partially. If it isn’t occupying you wholly, it will be difficult for your mind not to use its extra bandwidth to continue with all its noise!
7. Stay Curious
People often say that curiosity killed the cat, but rarely do they finish the full phrase: “…but satisfaction brought it back”. What does this mean? Curiosity can benefit you in many ways if you choose good things to be curious about!
Seek to enter new situations and conversations, aiming to learn from your experiences, even if it is uncomfortable or ends up going less smoothly than you had hoped. As you become accustomed to being curious and trying new things, your drive for knowledge and new situations will slowly overpower your loud head.
As humans, we are all gifted with “Beginner” minds. This concept essentially means that our brains are easily capable of learning new things and are eager to pick up on traits, skills, and other tidbits of knowledge. When you keep an open mind, it will happily and regularly seek new things instead of becoming overcrowded with fear and worries.
8. Use Positive Affirmations and Mantras
Positive affirmations are a great way to redivert your thinking patterns in a more effective and productive direction. You’ve probably heard that if you insult yourself too much, you will eventually thoroughly believe in and embody those insults. The same goes the other way around. Repeating mantras to yourself every day, especially in the mirror, can internalize them.
A calming mantra can also help you to gather your scattered and noisy thoughts, focusing them over the repeated phrase to promote positive thinking. Here are some examples of useful mantras to use when you are experiencing a noisy mind:
- I am calm.
- I am in charge of my life.
- I’m falling in love with myself.
- I am in control.
- I accept myself.
- I’ve done my best.
More specific and more extended affirmations are also possible, though these are best for routine repetition, and not as emergency calming methods! Examples include:
- I am in control of all of my thoughts.
- I attract positivity and reject negativity.
- I’m content with my current circumstances.
- I am prepared for unexpected circumstances.
- I am resistant to negativity.
Final Thoughts On Some Ways To Stop A Noisy Mind
Your mind is capable of many things – and, thus, it is capable of processing way too much information at a time. A noisy mind can be quite a nuisance, but it doesn’t have to be one of your problems forever. By taking systematic steps to stop these loud thoughts in their tracks, you can learn to circumvent negativity and focus on positive thinking instead.