No one is immune to stress. It happens to all of us. However, we don’t have to let stress overtake our life and let it have a negative impact on us. To help cope with stress, here are 10 strategies to clear your mind. Use these whenever you feel life is overwhelming and that you need to take a break.
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Some days you wake up with your mind filled with stressful thoughts. You can’t stop thinking about that big project you have to hand in in a couple of days, or that test you have to take, or the bills you have to pay. It’s like a movie that plays on repeat in your mind. An endless loop that feeds itself and that you can’t get rid of.
Not only is this bad for your mental health, but it can also have adverse effects on your physical health too. Stress can trigger headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and so much more.
That’s why it’s important to manage your stress and implement healthy habits to help you cope with it.
Clear your mind! This will help you take a step back from the situation, gain new insight on it, and come back to it with a refreshed point of view.
So here are my top 10 strategies I use to clear my mind when I’m stressed and I need to let go.
How to clear your mind when you’re stressed
1. Go for a walk in nature
Don’t underestimate the power of nature and the effect it has on your mind and your body. According to Dr. Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance “Having something pleasant to focus on like trees and greenery helps distract your mind from negative thinking, so your thoughts become less filled with worry.”
Research has also found strong evidence between exposure to natural environments and recovery from physiological stress and mental fatigue.
Take 15 to 30 minutes to go outside and breathe fresh air. If possible, get away from the city and surround yourself with trees, grass, water, fields and don’t bring your phone!
reconnect with nature, listen to the sounds around you, enjoy the little things; and just get lost in the moment.
2. Take a long hot bath
This doesn’t sound so original but trust me, it works wonders on relaxing your body and mind.
Now don’t take my word for it! A Japanese study concluded that taking hot spring baths is effective in getting rid of mental stress and has a positive effect on relaxation.
You don’t have to take a spring water bath (which can be hard to do for most of us!). Taking a regular hot bath can be just as beneficial.
3. Use essential oils
Warning: before using essential oils, talk to your health care provider as they may have adverse effects, especially on pregnant women, children, and people with serious conditions.
I love using essential oils in my daily life! They have so many therapeutic benefits which is why my first-aid kit includes many of them.
To ensure maximum benefits, always check the label and buy high-quality essential oils (organic if possible).
The best essential oils to use when stressed are:
Here are different ways you can use them to clear your mind and reduce stress:
- Using a diffuser to fill your house or office with the calming scent.
- Inhaling: bring the essential oil bottle up to your nose and inhale deeply a couple of times.
- Applying them to pulse points: Add a few drops to pulse points (behind your ears, on wrists and ankles, or over the heart). Make sure the essential oil you are using is suitable to apply directly on your skin. You may need to dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.
- Adding them to your shower or bath: Put a few drops on your shower walls and let them vaporize. If adding to your bath, dilute them using a carrier oil since essential oils aren’t water-soluble, and can accumulate in a film of undiluted essential oils sitting on top of the water, and can result in adverse reactions.
4. Listen to music
I absolutely love putting some of my favorite music on really loud and just dancing my heart out! It helps me forget about what’s currently going on in my life and
But it’s not just me!
A study was done on healthy college students during the mid-term week and the results revealed that mere music listening was effective in reducing subjective stress levels.
You can also put on calming and relaxing music such as classical or meditation music.
I also love listening to the piano. There’s just something so relaxing about it to me. Here’s my go-to music that helps me calm down:
Next time you start to feel overwhelmed and you need to clear your mind, put your headphones on and listen to upbeat, positive music!
5. Write in a journal
Journaling is a great way to clear your mind and put in writing what’s bothering you. It forces you to face your emotions and be more conscious of your thoughts. By expressing your feeling, doubts, and fears on paper, it also frees up mental space.
Writing in a journal reduces stress, boosts your mood, and can even help you achieve your goals!
The best part? All you need is a pen and some paper!
Start a habit of journaling in the morning or in the evening. You don’t have to write tons of pages. Don’t put pressure on yourself, just write what comes to mind.
6. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the act of living in the here and now. Jon Kabat Zinn, the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally”.
Mindfulness is all about slowing down and focusing your attention on one thing at a time.
Try sitting comfortably and allowing your thoughts and feelings to come to the surface and then let them go. Don’t judge them or attach labels to them. Accept their presence and feel them float away.
You can also try breathing techniques that help you focus on your breath instead of your thoughts. Inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and exhale for a count of 8. Repeat this cycle a few times until you feel your mind start to clear.
Hit the gym, go for a run, do a pilates class, dance, whatever gets your heart pumping. Exercise is proven to release endorphins, the feel-good hormones, in your body which will leave you feeling good and happy!
It’s also a great way to release any tension you have in your muscles, especially in your neck area. Or you could ask for a massage from your partner 😉
Exercising also lets you vent out any feelings of frustration or anger you may be feeling in a healthy way.
Once you’re done, you’ll be feeling like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders (at least I do!)
Meditation is a great way to clear your mind. It can be described as a mental exercise that trains the mind to relax, focus, and bring awareness to one’s self.
It can seem daunting to start a meditation practice when you’ve never done it before and I’ll be honest, it takes practice. But doing it for just 10 to 15 minutes a day has proven to have a huge effect on reducing stress and anxiety. Start small and work your way up!
When I started meditating, I used guided meditations and they helped me so much!
Here’s one I still use today:
9. Do something you love
Do you have an activity or a hobby you love doing? Something that brings joy and a smile to our face? Do more of it! It’s a great form of distraction from your stressful thoughts.
For me, it’s painting. I could paint for hours and not see the time go by. My mind goes to another place and I just enjoy the moment.
Figure out what activities or hobbies you could do and make time for them!
10. Hang out with your friends
What better way to clear your mind than to have a drink with friends?
We are social beings and we need a social circle. Research has found that people with a strong support system are better equipped to face stressful situations and are more resilient to stress.
Don’t ruminate your feelings all alone. Go out with friends, spend time with them, even if you don’t feel like it at first.
You can also ask them for advice or talk out your problems with them Just don’t spend two hours complaining 😉
There you have it, my top 10 strategies to clear your mind and reduce stress.
What strategies do you use to clear your head? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Till next time,
You may also enjoy reading:
- How to love yourself more, 17 actionable tips
- Why you need to practice self-care
- 60 positive affirmations to transform your life