How To Calm Your Mind
By Antonietta Marinelli | April 09, 2021
When our emotional or mental state is not in balance, it does hold some effect on the performance of our physical activity, work or study level. Research shows that when we’re under stress, the brain simply stops forming new connections. This is because stress and anxiety activate the body’s fight-or-flight response and bring on physiological and psychological changes that enhance our ability to react to danger. For instance, our adrenaline levels will rise, our heart rate and breathing may speed up, blood is diverted to the limbs, and our body temperature may increase. If this happens while we’re trying to study the brain essentially blocks access to higher processing, which makes it difficult, if not impossible to retain new information (Stenger, 2018).
Stress makes us perceive the world differently. It makes us narrowly focused and prevents us from seeing the bigger picture. When we are calmer, our attention becomes broader and literally lets us see more things. Calmness can also impact your creativity (Seppala, 2019). Research suggests that our most creative ideas come in moments when we’re not actively focused or stressed and with 17.0 % of Australians aged 16 and 85 having experienced anxiety, we want to take a step back and find ways to calm down our mind, and re-collect our thoughts in order to effectively perform in our every-day tasks.
In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Everybody practices mindfulness in one way or another and what may be considered mindfulness to one person, may be different for another. Practicing mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment can be achieved through exercise, writing, reading, meditating or anything which calms an individual down. The benefits of practicing mindfulness include reducing stress, anxiety and conflict in addition to increasing resilience and emotional intelligence, while improving communication in the workplace (Crossland-Thackray, 2012).
Our breathing is a powerful way for us to regulate our emotions. Through your breath, you are able to activate your parasympathetic nervous system - the calming response in your body. One of the most calming breathing exercises you can do is breathe in ( e.g., to a count of five), hold, and then breathe out (e.g., to a count of six or eight) (Seppala, 2019).
Remember, whenever you are started to, or feel overwhelmed or stressed out to the point where you can’t perform through your studies, work or any tasks - take a step back. It is highly important to make sure that your mind is present before everything else can be in order to effectively continue whatever task you were wanting to. Consistency is key, and consciously reminding yourself to take a step back is important.
● Crossland-Thackray, G (2012). Mindfulness at work: what are the benefits? The Guardian. [Accessed 8 April 2021 Mindfulness At Work Benefit
● Seppala, E. (2019). Four Ways to Calm Your Mind in Stressful Times. Mind & Body. [Accessed 9 April 2021] Four Ways To Calm Your Mind in Stressful Times
● Stenger, M. (2018). Learning Anxiety: 10 Ways to Calm Your Mind. Open Colleges. [Accessed 7 April 2021]. 10 Ways to Calm Your Mind