In these busy days its so hard to keep our minds sane. Unfortunately its hard to be able to switch off with all the screen we have in front of us and information we are constantly being fed. If you really think about it, when was the last time you really just stopped thinking, stopped sending, stopped creating and stopped reacting? We always need to be go go go, but it’s time to take some time back. It’s taken a while but we have found ways that work for us. When it comes to anxiety and panic disorders these also help for people who want to control and learn how to distract or calm their minds during an attack. These methods may work for some and may not for other. Take them, personalize them and use them to your advantage.
The first thing that we ever found that helped switch our minds off was to try to start to practice mindfulness. Its been happening for the past 50 years in popular culture but has only been readily available at our finger-tips recently. We have always thought that it was a matter of sitting in a quiet room and focusing on our breathing. To an extent, that is what is involved but why would you need peace if you already calm? We like to practice our mindfulness in times where we feel stressed, angsty or panicky. It isn’t always a cure but for some, it helps. There are so many different exercises you can use. Focus on your breathing, focus on what you can hear , see and smell. Focus on your senses. We have found some links that we like with some exercises. Pick one or two exercises that you can practice yourself that you feel will benefit you. When we find our mind going crazy at work, we like to employ these exercises too. It slows your mind down to be able to work more efficiently.
guided 20 minute exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thYoV-MCVs0
6 exercises shorter than a minute: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201302/6-mindfulness-exercises-each-take-less-1-minute
When you start to stress it can be as simple as popping earphones in and playing your favorite playlist. Take our advice, you don’t need hyped up music. Try to keep it as chill as possible. When you’re browsing through your music, bear in mind that you have a chill list to fill. If you come across something that might be a good fit, add to the playlist! After a while you will have built up a good playlist that you can refer to in times of need. We like to stay away form overly emotional songs because you’ll start to relate and that might do more harm than good. Keep it neutral. You could even put on some new music that you haven’t listened to , so that could take your mind off things. We find that it helps, especially in confined places like transport. You can’t really shout or talk to everyone so pop the earphones in and try to practice your mindfulness as you listen to relaxing music.
Another way we found that helps to practice mindfulness and calm the mind is….believe it or not….household chores. No, this isn’t an excuse to get the house in gear or to do a spring clean. Mindfulness is the practice of quietening your mind by focusing no one thing. This is something that can be achieved so easily at home. Try it the next time you’re washing the dishes. Provided you’re in a calm room, it should work. Focus on the feel of the wet utensils, smell the detergent, acknowledge the temperature of the water or just listen to the plates clanking. This one is very easy to practice and it’s a little like multitasking. You could try this while hanging clothes. Again, focus on the touch, smell and sounds that are around you. Distract your mind from thinking about things that you shouldn’t.
Our final tip for when you find that your brain won’t shut up is to talk to someone. Now, your don’t have to be having a panic or anxiety attack but this works for those times too. If you can’t seem to get a bit of peace of mind then text,call or find someone to talk to. We personally like to ask a friend to tell us a funny story. It’s something that will distract your brain, especially if you focus on listening to the person. We have actually seen this work with friends of our own and it really takes your out of your own mind. By the same token, we like to keep a funny or weird story in our arsenal to tell friends who may be in need. Trust us, the accidental consumption of acetone always works!
This is just a few ways to hep you integrate mindfulness into your daily life. These methods and tips are not sure-fire ways to cure a panic or anxiety disorder. However, we will say, in milder cases, they do help. Bear in mind, you don’t need to be in a panic to employ these methods. They can be used in your daily routine. Think of this as a starters pack for you to use and develop. You can always personalize for yourself or offer these tips for a friend you know will need them.