Our minds are powerful – so powerful that they have the ability to create physiological effects on our bodies. For example, when we’re overworked, overstressed or highly anxious for long periods of time, our mental state can wreck havoc on our overall health. Why is that? Because too much stress releases cortisol and adrenaline into our bodies, which in turn results in physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, trouble sleeping and so on. Therefore, mental clarity and wellness, self-care and taking time for ourselves are no longer just ‘nice-to-haves’ – they're essential.
Tapping Into Our Five Major Senses
There's always our go-to, meditation, which help our minds return to the present moment as we practice redirecting our thoughts. But did you know that getting in touch with our senses – all five of them – can also create a calming, soothing experience that ease the mind? Here are some ideas:
- Visualize - Neutral, calming short video content like rainfall and the sun setting are trending on content-sharing apps like TikTok and YouTube. Accounts from meditation companies, like Calm and Headspace, have even created soothing content (like this video of fizzy bubbles) that are simply mind-melting and peaceful. This type of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) content has a sedative, “brain massage” effect on viewers.
- Scent - When we smell something good, like relaxing lavender, the scent goes straight to our brain’s olfactory center. Happy memories or emotions may be triggered, and our mind signals our body to relax.
- Sound - Meditating, stillness or simply drifting to sleep can be a challenge when our minds are racing at night. Consider listening to white noise or exploring hertz frequency therapy to discover a resonance that triggers feelings of calmness.
- Taste - We often forget to consider taste as a part of our mindfulness practice. Yet, pausing to pray before meals is a practice in many other cultures. Mindful eating suggests pausing, savoring and truly noticing the food we are about to consume.
- Touch - An overstimulated mind is often receiving input from too many sources. When we’re at our absolute limit, consider the benefit of stepping away into a hot shower as a mindful practice. Envision the water washing away the day’s energy and, upon stepping out, we can feel renewed. Or consider the hug-like effect of a weighted blanket at night.
When our minds are racing, another fantastic way to find calm can be to race with it. Long-distance runners have often espoused the benefits of post-run mental clarity and the oft-chased “runners’ high.” It could be the deep breathing, the extra oxygen being pumped through our blood, the endorphins or according to research, our body’s own THC and CBD factory. Many runners are actually producing cannabinoids when they experience this euphoria during exercise. Exercise is great for reducing stress, improving our health, and improving mental clarity. However, in today’s culture where the hustle and grind is universally glorified, we also suggest taking the time to do…nothing. Scheduling time off, taking a day to chill and saying ‘no thanks’ to more work might simply be the most beneficial and revolutionary things we can do for our mental clarity. After all, the best way to clear muddy water is not to go stirring it up, but rather, to let it settle.
Carb-heavy meals that drain our brain’s ability to form a coherent thought aren’t doing us any favors. A good cleanse, intermittent fasting and simply working in food that fuels good thoughts – such as turmeric for anti inflammatory benefits, mood-boosting omega threes and green tea for better brain function – go a long way. To that point, cutting out things like alcohol, sugars and unhealthy snacks not only keeps our body in tune, it also does wonders for our busy minds.
Without a healthy body, our mind cannot process the mental hurdles we throw at it. And without a healthy mind, our body struggles. When we take time to bring calmness and stillness to our mental state, everyone around us benefits, too. Finding balance between the two will always require patience, kindness and self love. Here’s to better health. #beautyofchange
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” —Oprah Winfrey