Do you ever feel “scatterbrained”? Maybe you have trouble calming your brain enough to relax properly, or even find that your worries intrude on your daily life. If you feel like you’re losing the fight to tame your scattered thoughts, try some of these techniques:
Meditation is often misrepresented as an attempt to completely clear the mind, which can make it frustrating for people for whom this is not possible. While some forms of meditation do work to clear and still the mind, still others work by allowing you to calmly observe and let go of your thoughts. This can be very helpful for coping with a scattered mind, as it gives you the opportunity to observe patterns in your thinking, and release these thoughts in a way that is calming and relaxing.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation, or PMR, is a relaxation technique that involves tensing and relaxing groups of muscles in order — usually from the feet up, or head down. It can be a helpful method of relaxation for people who find that they have trouble with meditation, since the muscle tension and relaxation offers something to focus on. Stress is often stored in the body, so learning to deliberately relax separate muscle groups is a very helpful tool for calming the mind.
Sometimes, having too much on our plates can give rise to scattered thoughts. It can be very difficult to concentrate on something when there are a million other worries nagging at the back of your mind! While self-care is often marketed as a kind of self-indulgence, in reality, it’s a way for you to take time out to make sure you are doing okay. When there are a lot of responsibilities on your to-do list, it’s easy to forget simple things, like eating healthy food, exercising, and even grooming. Self-care can be as simple as taking thirty seconds to adjust your posture, take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself if there’s anything you need in that moment — have you had a glass of water? Are you hungry? Is there tension somewhere in your body? Engaging in self-care helps reduce some of the burden on your mind, which can help quiet some of those scattered thoughts.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when we have a long, disorganized list of things to do. Sometimes, the most helpful thing you can do to calm scattered thoughts is to take a moment to sit down and break everything down into a series of smaller steps. Create an action plan, listing each of these steps in order of priority. For example, instead of focusing on making dinner, break it down into a series of steps: “I will set up the ingredients, then chop the vegetables, then preheat the oven.” While it might seem counterproductive to give yourself a longer to-do list, turning larger tasks into a series of smaller, more manageable steps with clear priorities can make things seem much more manageable.
How often have you had a lot to do, glanced up at the clock, and immediately been hit with a sense of dread? While having a clock or timer can sometimes be helpful for staying on task, it can also contribute to a scattered mind by adding extra pressure. It’s hard to focus on what you need to do, if you’re also worrying about how much time you have to do it in. Avoid paying too much attention to the time, so you don’t give yourself additional things to worry about. Worrying won’t make time pass any slower, but it can hamper your productivity and increase your stress.
Having a scattered mind feel stressful, because it makes it difficult for us to focus on the things we need to do. You don’t have to suffer from that stress on top of everything else, however. By making time to help yourself release tension, ensuring your needs are met, and breaking each task down into simple, prioritized steps, you can keep your thoughts organized and handle everything you need to do.