Stress Self-Help

Calming the mind

Acknowledging thoughts

It is natural to find yourself following thoughts instead of focusing on your breath. Welcome your thoughts by acknowledging them but prioritize following breath to find rest and calm your mind.

Silencing the mind

Attempting to silence a busy mind can be counterproductive, as it tends to generate more thoughts. Focusing on breath, on the other hand, can naturally reduce the intensity of thinking. Instead of trying to eliminate thoughts, persist in focusing on and sensing your breath, allowing the mind to gradually calm itself.

Furthermore, it’s often more beneficial to delay engaging with thoughts rather than attempting to stop them entirely. If certain thoughts demand a lot of attention, evaluate their urgency at this moment. If possible, encourage yourself to postpone engaging with them until after the practice of rest. Remind yourself that taking the time to rest before addressing these thoughts often enhances the quality of your subsequent reflections.

Prioritizing sensing

Thinking and sensing are different forms of cognition that compete for attention at a neurological level. The more you engage in analytic thinking, the less you engage in sensing, and vice versa. To gradually calm the mind and prioritize sensing over thinking, consistently direct your attention to your breath. When you find yourself engaged in analytical thinking, patiently bring your attention back to your breath.

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