I have an overactive brain. It travels at a million miles an hour and at times I struggle to keep it under control. Life becomes fuzzy, my head feels full and I find it hard to keep functioning.
So I cling on to the mantra ‘everything is going to be okay’.
Does this sound familiar? When you lead a busy life, it can be hard to live in the present. But I’ve started to understand the importance of clearing my mind to enjoy the here and now.
About four years ago, my husband and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world and we embarked on the most challenging, yet rewarding, experience of our life.
Our little girl has special needs and she requires extensive medical help. So, being first-time parents we have taken a road less travelled. We’ve learned patience, courage, strength and grace. My days can be consumed with therapies, appointments and, hopefully less frequently, hospital trips, so I can be inclined to overthink.
It can be a challenge living in the present and when things get challenging I’ve learned these techniques can really help:
Take small steps. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Break the day into hours or minutes. Look at now, not tomorrow. Small steps.
Enjoy being outdoors. It’s amazing how a walk in the garden among the flowers and trees can ease the pressure in my mind. Feeling the breeze and the sun on your skin can do wonders. Pull a few weeds. You might be surprised how much better you feel.
Try sewing. English paper piecing works for me. The effect of laying out fabric in a variety of tones and designs allow me to focus my attention on something else, and the repetition of hand patchwork soothes my nerves.
Take deep breaths. When I’m really stressed instead of reacting instantly, I take a few deep breaths before I make a choice. This stops me from overthinking the situation.
Realise thoughts are not reality. My imagination can run away with me sometimes. I create scenarios and what ifs and suddenly my mind is spiralling out of control. This can feel very real and distracts me from the present.
Focus on what is real and true.
Stop comparing. It’s so easy to compare our lives to others and this can be dangerous, creating resentment and bitterness. I’ve done it (we’ve all done it) and apart from bringing me sadness and discontentment I was missing out on so many precious experiences in my own life. When changes happen it’s easier to compare than face the present. When I accepted my own reality I found peace and contentment.
It can be a daily struggle but the more accepting I became of my life, the more joy I found.
Find a creative expression. Writing is my solace. I can be honest about my struggles, sadness, disappointments, joys and dreams. It’s my place to be totally me. Each morning I write three pages of brain download – it might be sentences, words, even a crazy picture. I can then start the day with a clear mind.
Sometimes I write down what I’m grateful for and this helps my perspectives change.
Discover your happy place. This can be wherever you like. It can be real or not. For me, it’s being outside in my garden seeing a butterfly glide by, or just being.
No day is perfect. The mind is a powerful thing and sometimes I want to just let the struggles of the day consume me, eat me up. But I am the loser then.