Smart Alek: Sometimes I just can’t get my mind to stop racing.
Aleks Psych (Sarcastically): Wow, how surprising.
Smart Alek: So many brilliant ideas, I wonder which ones should I follow through on.
Aleks Psych: You mean like the idea of cross fertilising a cactus with poison ivy or making sandals out of banana skins.
Smart Alek: Yes to name a couple. Those and many, many more.
Aleks Psych: Sometimes it is best to let your ideas stay as such.
Learning how to find inner peace requires knowing what to do to slow down our incredibly active minds. Why do we find ourselves thinking about a range of issues and possible scenarios, even when we do not want to? Our mind is always processing information in order to protect us. We need to know what the things around us mean and how we should respond to them. We need to make sense of our world in order to feel safe. However, at any one time, there is a lot going on! Sometimes our mind becomes too active and we become overly stressed or even overwhelmed. At this point what we usually would like more than anything is an opportunity to quickly create an inner peace meditation in order to allow for a break from all the mind racing activity. In other words, learning how to find inner peace requires us to know how to take a break from ourselves.
As we experience our world, we create judgements about what things mean. These judgements are known as labels and they influence how we feel. The labels we most often use are either positive or negative. Something is either good or bad, ugly or beautiful, successful or stupid, rich or poor, comfortable or irritating and so on. However, to give yourself a break from yourself, you must understand how to find inner peace by seeking neutrality. One way to find neutrality is to shift your mind from labelling to describing. Descriptions have no major feelings attached to them and by describing our current experiences our racing mind has to slow down and to re-focus on the present moment allowing us to find a greater sense of peace. A description is something that is hard, or soft, tingly, sharp, dull, black, red, pungent, loud, bitter, sweet, flowing, still and so on.
How to find inner peace Exercise : Consider this exercise next time your mind is racing and you feel the need to find neutral again. First sit up straight with your head forward and breathe deeply. From that position, scan your environment using any of your 5 senses and describe what you are doing and sensing without any judgement. Although you can do this mentally, if possible, it is preferable to describe your experience out loud. An example might look like ‘I see a black table, it is hard and has four silver legs, there is a throb in my head and a tingle in my lower back, I hear a computer humming, I can smell lavender, I am sinking further into my chair, there is a long black shadow across the door, I hear car horns and feel a tingling breeze against my neck, I just grabbed a bottle of water, the liquid is cool and bubbly. I take a sip and it slides down my throat’ and so on.
Try this exercise for 3-5 minutes 1-2 times a day over the next week when you feel you need to find inner peace by resting your overactive mind. You might be surprised by how enjoyable finding neutral in a time of stress can be.
Aleks Srbinoski is a Clinical and Coaching Psychologist, Company Consultant, Author, Humorist, and Inspirational Motivational Speaker.