Sometimes I have so many thoughts, needs and wants pulling at my attention, it feels like my thinking is far from intentional, almost out of my control, and it doesn’t feel like I can slow it down. I try meditating, and the quiet just makes everything louder up there. It can become pretty frustrating when all I’d like is to have some clear, calm, restful downtime without thinking of everything I am going to do when I’ve checked ‘downtime’ off my mental list.
Who is this internal, chaotic, always on the go person who seems to be a separate being from the ‘real’ me? It is definitely someone I don’t want to be- anxious, in a hurry, always thinking about the next thing to do or say rather than enjoying the moment or individual right in front of them. Most of us seem to have this secondary voice and ‘alternate personality’ living inside, some just have it more subdued and under control than others.
Quieting my inner voice becomes essential to having a positive presence during the day.
On those days when I feel like my mind has a mind of it’s own, with thoughts going in every direction, a mental to-do list a mile long and the anxiousness of not being able to complete it, or worse yet, not even wanting to try, I look to those who have more experience than myself, to help re-center my thoughts and feelings.
Breathe. Leo Babauta, creator of Zenhabits is one of my all-time favorite people to turn to when life is getting a bit overwhelming. Even his introductory page is calming in that it invites you to just take a breath. So I do. I don’t try to stop the mess of thoughts in my head, but as I consciously try to take deep breaths, they stop themselves more easily.
Let Go of Distractions. Courtney Carver is another person I admire immensely. She has done an excellent job over at BeMoreWithLess, writing content that truly helps me quiet that inner voice in my head when it gets too loud. Recognizing all the distractions in life, and picking and choosing which to focus on first greatly reduces the anxiety I feel when they all seem to surface at once.
Don’t be busy. Be Focused. Joshua Fields Millburn, one of TheMinimalists, is where I turn once that inner voice has quieted down some and I’m finally ready to take action. He writes quite frequently about staying focused, doing what is truly important and discarding the rest.
Reading the wisdom of others who are striving to live the same minimal, simple lifestyle as myself is one of the greatest sources of motivation and comfort when I feel like I am struggling in some way, especially those days when I am feeling the general overwhelm of life creep it’s way in and disrupt my calm. Their words remind me that others have found value in simple living as well, have experienced the same feelings and are available to support me in my efforts. Even though I have not met them personally, and in some cases never even emailed them, I know they are supportive of me because of their message and personal efforts to help others live a simple life. That knowing, is enough to clear my head, refocus my thoughts and move on with my day, more aware and intentional of myself and those around me.