5 Everyday Things That Clear Your Mind When Negative Thoughts Have You Spiraling
What makes human consciousness just keep on keepin' on has been at the center of spiritual and scientific conversations since, like, the dawn of time, right? Now, while the mind is a beautiful, strange machine, being aware all the time, and constantly inputting and outputting information, can have its disadvantages. Whether you're contemplating universal mysteries or watching Parks and Rec while making cupcakes and talking to your sister on the phone, your noggin just gets clogged sometimes — which is why it's so important to figure out everyday things that clear your mind to keep you centered, calm, and TBH, sane.
The real bummer here is that, not only can your mind be filled to the brim with thoughts, responsibilities, and daily to-dos, but the thoughts themselves can sometimes get stuck in a rather negative, and even anxiety-driven cycle. In fact, according to The Office on Women's Health, one in five people in the United States are affected by anxiety, and what's worse, women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Do you relate? Because I do, y'all. I definitely do. And when it comes to the cluttered, chattering peanut gallery that is the brain, in the immortal words of Queen, I want to break free. And with these mind-clearing tips from the pros, it's totally possible to do so.
Relax Right Before Bed (Instead Of Doing Work)
Now, I know this one can be really hard. Personally, sometimes the only way I can get my own writing done is if I do it right before bed — but when I do that, I usually don't fall asleep until late, late into the night. But, according to life coach and mindfulness expert Elizabeth Su, if you want a clear mind, it's extremely important to have these boundaries for yourself.
"Set up a strict no-work-before-bed policy: Nothing is worse than trying to fall asleep with your to-do list swirling around in your head," Su tells Elite Daily over email. "In fact, research shows that using technology right before bed negatively impacts the quantity and quality of your sleep."
See, when you're sleep-deprived, she explains, you have a harder time coping with stress, so it becomes difficult to really clear your mind and feel totally at ease. It's a pretty vicious cycle, you know? "My advice is to create a daily calendar invite for yourself that reminds you to shut off your computer and start winding down for bed," Su says. "It's amazing how much more mindful you can be when you are well-rested."
Create A Morning Ritual
Pro tip: Your morning ritual should not include your phone. "The first thing most of us do when our alarm goes off in the morning is check our phones," Su tells Elite Daily. "This is not only a harsh start to the day, but research shows that always being 'on' can lead to higher levels of stress."
So instead of getting sucked into your day, she says, the minute you open your eyes, try establishing a morning ritual that you love. "It could be a short meditation, a walk around the block, morning tea with your partner, or 20 minutes of journaling," Su suggests. "You'll be surprised by how much more productive you are at work when you feel centered and grounded from the start."
Write Gratitude Statements For The Future You Want
For this one, it's all about positively thinking about what you want for your future — in your career, your love life, your family, literally anything that comes to mind — and writing it down like you already have it. According to Elise Marie Collins, a health coach and author of the book Chakra Tonics: Essential Elixirs For The Mind, Body, And Spirit, this is a great way to shift your perspective.
"I spend five minutes focusing on how I would like my life to look in gratitude statements," she tells Elite Daily. "'I am grateful that I got a promotion. I am grateful that I have a new dream job leading luxury yoga retreats in Costa Rica and South America.' Then I read these statements aloud." And, she adds, if she catches herself falling back into a negative-thought spiral, she simply rewrites her thoughts to be more positive.
Affirmations are real, y'all! Put the good stuff out into the universe, and it will find a way to reach you.
Let Yourself Feel Bad For A Little Bit
Yes, this might seem like the opposite of clearing your mind, but hear me out: Sometimes, when you feel overwhelmed, it's easy to focus on finding something to help you feel better, and when that thing doesn't work right away, it makes you feel defeated, and whatever had you feeling down in the first place suddenly seems even more intense. According to Avanti Centrae, founder of Modern Meditation, one of the best things to do in moments like this is "let yourself sit and feel the negativity until it passes," instead of trying to squash it right away.
This can be a tricky skill to learn, but it gets to the root cause better than distraction ever could, Centrae tells Elite Daily. The idea here is, once you get into the habit of feeling your feelings as they come, you get more used to the fact that they can actually clear out, and that the bad thoughts really don't last forever.
Recite Positive Statements (Especially Out Loud)
Susan Shumsky, a yoga teacher and author of the book Exploring Meditation, recommends taking a moment to choose a powerful statement you can literally say out loud that will help to clear out the negativity invading your mind. "Go somewhere that you can be alone for a few minutes," she tells Elite Daily. "Then say [your] statements audibly, in a confident, commanding voice. You will immediately calm down and feel better."
One of her examples? Say this five times fast: "I am free from all thoughts, feelings, and emotions that no longer serve me. I am free from pressure, exhaustion, and overwhelm. These thoughts are released from my mind now, and they are gone. I am filled with thoughts of peace, love, ease, comfort, letting go, energy, and effortlessness. I am in control of my mind and my life, now and always. So be it."