01 May Meditation Series: Quieting the Mind Part 2
Posted at 13:36h
Here are 3 quick tips for quieting your mind when trying to meditate.
Write It Out First
It’s difficult to meditate if you are bothered by something. An effective step for quieting the mind at a time like this, is to write it out first. When I say write it out, I mean get all the raw, volatile, emotional heat/pain/anger you’re experiencing, out of you. Express it FULLY. Unload it completely onto the page. Essentially, give it a place to go, so that it’s not taking up space in your mind.
Following this, take a few minutes to let your stress hormones calm down, then sit/lie down, engage the Parasympathetic Nervous System via Conscious Breathing, and let yourself ease back into a quieter part of your mind.
Note: This is also works well if your mind is busy trying to remember all the things you have to do once you’ve finished meditating.
Your Inner Toddler
If you’ve ever put a child down for a nap/sleep, you know that oftentimes he/she doesn’t fall asleep right away. From another room you can hear the child talking to itself until it’s finally all talked out and drifts off to sleep. What you don’t do is keep going into the room to tell the child to be quiet, because that would make him/her even more alert, which is the opposite of what you want.
Think of your chatty mind as your inner toddler. If your mind is busy when you’re trying to meditate, let it talk itself out while you’re focusing on your Conscious Breathing. In other words, take your attention ‘to another room’. I have found that by focusing on my breathing and not ‘trying to stop my thoughts’ (which would be akin to going into the room and telling the child to be quiet, counter productive), my mind will finally just talk itself out and quiet down.
Change the Latitude
I love this one and use it often! This involves taking your attention away from the part of your brain that is noisy, and placing it in an area that’s quiet. Try this: Close your eyes and gently place your attention on both earlobes at the same time. Yes, you read that correctly, earlobes.
When you do this, you’re taking your focus away from the noisy prefrontal cortex and the emotional-survival-based amygdala, and placing it at a latitude that’s quiet.
You can be sure that when you first attempt this, your thoughts will try to jump back to those other areas, but when it does, just think of it as just old muscle memory kicking in and bring your attention back to your earlobes. If it’s not comfortable focusing on your earlobes, try focusing on the tops of both shoulders at the same time.
Start by doing this for 15 seconds at a time until you’re able to hold your focus here, then work up from there. Do this while taking gentle, peaceful, belly breaths, like a wave in slow motion.
The thing I find fascinating about this technique, which I refer to as ELF (Earlobe Focus), is that when you hold your focus at this latitude, not only you can completely disengage from a thought but also the emotions associated with it. It’s an instant mental vacation!
I hope these tips will help you develop a wonderful Meditation Practice.
***Remember: Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before making changes to your lifestyle.
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