Week 1: Simplify Your Mind
I used to be a chronic over thinker. I would sit and mull over an interaction that happened years ago. And it was debilitating! When I started meditating a couple years ago, an intention someone set really stuck with me. “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” And that last one, oof — it hit me right in the heart. Now when I think of past event, I think there are things I would like to have done differently, but I know that I’ve learned from those things as well.
Simplifying your mind does not only mean you choose to worry less, but it also creates peace of mind by simplifying everything in your life. And everything starts with your own mind.
Here are some tangible ways to start:
Treat yourself to some silence. Silence can mean different things to different people. The early hours of the morning, the serenity of the countryside, the few moments after you turn off the motor of your car, or even the simplicity of a clean and tidy room. Do your best to seek out this kind of silence, at least once a day. You deserve it.
Do one thing at a time. Contrary to popular belief (mine included), only about 2.5 percent of people have the ability to effectively focus on more than one task at a time. So for the other 97.5 percent of us, multitasking makes things harder, not easier. Give yourself a break—one complete thing is plenty to be focusing on at a time.
Quit trying so hard. This might sound like an astonishing suggestion, but one of the things that we learn from meditation and therapy and every other self-help book under the sun, is that exerting effort, particularly to try to force the mind to do anything, is often counterproductive. Try to take a relaxed approach. Think of an athlete or a performer who you love—do they make it look easy? It’s that level of relaxed effort that you’re looking for.
Remember the blue sky. When you get in a plane and rise above the clouds, you see that incredible bright panorama of blue sky. The mind is no different; thoughts are like clouds, and although they may build up and even look stormy, the blue sky is there all along. Just remembering this is enough to help you get a little more clarity.
Learn how to meditate. Download an app and try a 10 minute guided meditation, giving yourself this time on a regular basis will slow down everything and won’t make your racing thoughts as chaotic as usual.