How Can I Turn Off my Mind? Part 2

You probably know how easy it is to let your mind be overrun with thoughts, worries, lists and more. A cue is a reminder that you can use to help manage your thoughts. Check out this post to learn more about it and create your cue to act as a reminder to stop those thoughts and focus in on what is most important.

If your cue hasn’t become automatic yet, don’t worry. New habits take time to form. Think about writing your cue in places you can see it: on your mirror, as the background on your phone, or even on your hand.

One practical strategy that may help you deal with everything that runs through your mind is to find a way to get the thoughts out of your head and onto “paper” (literal paper, or virtually).

Here are 3 ways to do that:

Mind dump

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, give yourself 5 minutes (or less if you can’t find 5) to write down everything that’s clogging your brain. You can do this verbally, but there is something powerful about writing it down and seeing those thoughts on paper. This task may help you to find solutions, clarity, ideas for changes you want to make, OR, it may help those thoughts to dissipate because you’ve acknowledged them in a more concrete way.

After the mind dump, you can take a look at what you need to deal with, what needs to go onto the calendar, and get organized with how to tackle what’s been on your mind. The mind dump can lead nicely into idea number two.

Make lists

Not everyone is a fan of making lists as they can easily become long and overwhelming. The positive side of lists is that they allow you to see what you need to accomplish or remember what you need to do rather than try to hold everything in your head. Find a system that works for you, whether that’s pen and paper, a calendar in your phone, or an organization app such as the Cozi Calendar. Lists can be for the day, the week, the month, or other periods of time and can help you remember and prioritize.

Remember that creating balance is an ongoing act and your to-do/to-remember lists can help you identify what’s important right now and what areas you may be able to put aside for the time being. If you find that you’re regularly focusing on items from your list that aren’t urgent, use your cue to remind you to focus on what’s happening now.

[bctt tweet=”Creating balance is an ongoing act; your to-do lists help you identify what’s important right now and what areas to put aside. #GetMomBalanced” username=”GetMomBalanced”]

Take notes

As we’ve said, moms have a lot on their plate at any one time. We often have to remember many details and manage numerous tasks. Create systems for how to take notes when you have ideas, thoughts, or points you need to remember. Similar to the brain dump, by getting it out of your head and onto paper (or your phone), you don’t need to continue to think about it because you might forget it. Instead, you can be thoughtful about when and how you review these ideas.

Keep pads of paper or your phone nearby and jot down notes when you need to, such as “pick up my library book,” “take the chicken out of the freezer,” or “early pick up Wednesday.” Once these are out of your head and somewhere you can see them, you may find that you don’t think about them as much, only when needed.

Take time to come up with a system so you don’t use and then lose little scraps of paper or throw out the envelope that you wrote that really important idea on, but now can’t find the envelope and can’t remember the idea. I like to have a pad and paper by my bed at night so that if anything comes up while I’m trying to fall asleep, I can write it down without having to turn on my phone and be blinded (and woken up) by the light on the phone. The notes you take may then be organized into the lists you’ve created.

An important way to calm your thoughts is to get them out of your head and onto paper.
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As you can see, these three ideas are all related and the goal of each is to help you clear your mind as well as find ways to focus in on what’s important right now. This can be a challenge because there are often many things that are important right this second.

While I’m a huge fan of multitasking, when it comes to too many thoughts in our heads, this can create feelings of overwhelm, anxiousness and cause us to be easily distracted. When this happens, we’re not in the best position to deal with what’s in front of us even if it’s only one or two tasks.

Though it may not be easy to begin to clear your mind out, try the ideas above, along with creating a thought-stopping cue (Check out this post for more info on what that is and how to create one). With time and practice you’ll begin to notice your mind seeming a bit less cluttered, and eventually a lot less cluttered. Have patience and be nice to yourself along the way- we didn’t develop these habits overnight so it will take time to change them.

Let us know how it’s been going for you with calming down your mind. Share your successes and your challenges.

Posts and information on Get Mom Balanced are educational in nature and are not meant to be a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, treatment or care. If you have medical or mental health-related concerns, contact your personal health care provider without delay. See full disclosure for more information. 

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