When our mind is busy, it’s usually because we’re stressed or anxious in life. We can’t stop thinking about things in the past or the future.
As a result, it makes a difficult to focus on the present. We stay distracted from the work we could do to improve our lives.
We miss out on the joy we could be experiencing by living in the moment. Overall, it’s difficult to just relax when thoughts just keep popping up in your head.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help ease your mind and give yourself some relief. Try these tips to make your thoughts less busy so you can enjoy the present more.
1. Be more mindful
Our minds can often be distracted with one random thought after another during the day. It’s because of that, we can barely pay attention to what’s going on around us.
To lessen the distractions in your life, practice being mindful of everything around you throughout your day.
Pay attention to your breath. Notice the feel of something you touch or the sounds you hear around you.
Recognize when your mind wanders and gently try to redirect it back to being mindful.
There are a lot of helpful techniques to mindfulness. You can learn more about being mindful in this article, “Five Steps to Mindfulness.”
2. Shorten your to-do list
Another main cause of a mind that’s constantly busy is having a long to-do list.
We unfortunately live in a society that believes if you’re not constantly being productive, you’re lazy.
The downfall of that mindset is it can cause more stress and anxiety in your mind.
Learn to be comfortable with the idea that you don’t have to get everything done in one day.
Set priorities and be satisfied to have gotten done a few important things done.
With a shorter to-do list, your mind will feel less of need to be constantly thinking about what needs to get done.
3. Manage your content intake
The content we take in can either make us more relaxed and enjoying the moment, or more fearful and worried about the future.
In particular, too much news and social media can make it really hard for us to not ruminate over things.
If I see something really sad or violent in the news, my mind tends to think about the story a lot in my day.
Social media can make these things worse. You scroll through your newsfeed and you’re barraged with more terrible details or lots of negative comments.
All of that creates a recipe for a mind that’s in a constant whirlwind of negative thoughts and emotions.
But if you limit your intake of news and social media, you eliminate the amount of negativity that makes your mind busy and make space for positive things that can calm you.
4. Get in nature
Getting in nature has been proven to be soothing to our minds. To me, it makes complete sense, since humans started out in nature in the beginning.
One could wonder if we were never meant to be constantly inside all the time. A study found that nature experience reduces rumination.
It was confirmed through brain scans that showed less activity in areas of the brain that are associated with rumination.
If you don’t have much nature around you, it’s also been proven that listening to nature sounds, looking at nature photography, and having plants can be just as effective in reducing busyness in the mind.
5. Be active
It’s easier for our minds to be busy when we’re sitting around and not moving much. Harvard Medical School published an article explaining how exercising helps us to relax.
The article noted that aerobic exercise helps calm the anxiety we feel through reduction of stress hormones and production of endorphins.
The less stressed you are, the less likely you’re going to have thoughts constantly running through your mind.
You can learn about a simple minimalist exercise routine to ease your way into getting more active.
6. Create order
A world that feels in disorder influences our mind to be in disorder. But if you can bring more order into your world, or at lease more of a feeling there’s a sense of order, your mind can be calmer.
An interesting study found that reading about orderliness in the world made people feel less anxious.
Beyond reading about a world in order, you can make your own environment in order by decluttering your space.
In research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, it was found that those who were less inconvenienced and less ashamed by the clutter in their home had more positive emotions.
With feeling more positive emotions, there’s less of a need to constant think about things.
7. Use relaxation techniques
Beyond mindfulness, which is one relaxation technique you can try, you could also consider meditation, yoga, or autogenic training to relax your mind.
Most of the constant thoughts floating inside of your head are probably worries and fears.
Regularly engaging in an activity that relaxes you, whether it’s watching a funny show or spending time with friends, will help you not think so much about everything.
The busyness of your mind may feel uncontrollable, but it can in fact be within in your control.
You just have to be intentional about doing more of the activities that help you, and limiting the activities that don’t help you.
In time, you can get to a place where you feel you’re more able to manage your busy thoughts, and more able to enjoy your life.