How to quiet your mind and find some peace

Can anyone relate to this image? Our brains are noisy places. According to Jessica Stillman at Entry Level Rebel that can be a good thing when we are daydreaming or reflecting on our problems while “noodling over solutions.” She describes it as one of the best ways to move forward in life even if it is not a pleasant way to spend your time. At times, I find all that noise in my head distracting. I tend to beat myself up over a mistake or worry about something—anything! This kind of unhealthy mental noise is one of the subjects in neuroscientist Ethan Kross’s new book Chatter. In it, he discusses why our heads are so noisy and what happens when our brains ruminate, and more importantly, how we can take control of our inner voice.  

When we get stuck in a mental rut, worrying about the same thing over and over without reaching a useful conclusion it can be very loud. It’s hard to figure out a way to solve your problem when you are upset about it. Research shows a simple technique called “distanced self-talk” enables you to shift your perspective and see problems more objectively. It involves shifting your thinking and seeing your problems more objectively. What you need to do is stop your inner voice from saying, “I, I, I” and instead use your name or refer to yourself in the third person like she or her. Why is it easy to give others advice but not take it ourselves? Encourage yourself to think through your problems as an outsider would.  Kross explains, “This tool gives you some mental space, some psychological distance from your problems, which helps you give yourself more constructive advice for how to deal with a situation.”  

Another way to help calm that noise in your head is to spend time outdoors. Nature “gives our attention the ability to recharge...by subtly drawing our attention to things that are interesting to us, but don’t necessarily take a whole lot of bandwidth for us to make sense of,” Kross explains.  

Next time you find yourself stuck in an unhealthy mental loop, try one of these strategies for a few minutes. Hopefully, you will be able to quiet some of the noise and possibly even close a few of those tabs.  

Resource: Inc.  Mar. 16, 2021