These days our minds are anything but still.  They are busy thinking, worrying, making up stories about past or future, and seeking any sort of distraction they can find. Because our minds try to find distraction, we have trouble focusing, we are rarely present in the moment, and we feel that we need to be constantly doing something.

However, there is something that can help us stop this running mind.  According to a Zen Master in this article, there are two parts to finding stilness. The first part of finding stillness is to accept that your mind is active, that it will tell stories. Then, remember that you don’t have to believe these stories and your mental chatter, if you don’t identify with it, doesn’t have to cause anxiety.  You can simply see your mind as it is and work with it, not against it.

Take a Moment of Stillness

Try the following steps to bring some stillness to your mind.

  1. Put away all your devices and instead look at a wall, or out a window.
  2. Take a minute to listen to your body; assess how you feel and what state your mind is in.
  3. Reflect on your recent behaviors. Have you been more distracted than usual? Have you procrastinated or acted out of frustration?
  4. Be curious about these feelings and behaviors. Don’t judge them, just accept them.
  5. Identify the mental pattern that caused the feelings and behaviors.
  6. Focus again on your body, on all the parts of your body.
  7. Try to find gratitude for something in your life.  Try especially to feel gratitude and love towards yourself.

By doing these steps, in whatever way (a couple at a time, or in a series) helps you, you can identify the patterns that cause you to believe the things you think and act the way you do.

Bringing More Stillness to Your Life

It only takes a few minutes a day to give attention to your mental state, to accept that your mind is busy, and to reflect on the ways you feel because of your mental chatter and stories.  Other ways you can remember to take a few moments for yourself are:

  1. Have a daily alarm or reminder to spend a few minutes away from technology.
  2. Give yourself some time each day just to sit in silence. This can be in meditation or just by yourself to unwind.
  3. Find time to read without your device.  You can read a book or magazine just to learn and engage in something else.
  4. Stretch or do some yoga poses. You can do child’s pose or a downward facing dog or triangle pose, just to stretch and feel your body.
  5. Take some time out of your day to go for a walk or be outside.  Notice the sights and the smells as you walk.

By intentionally giving yourself time to reflect and to still the mind, you can create space where your mental chatter isn’t taking charge.

Originally published on Hack Spirit.