A Quiet Mind Is a Good Mind

by | Mar 19, 2024

A friend was going through extreme stress at work, at home, and everywhere in between. Thoroughly overwhelmed, she asked her doctor for some kind of prescription that would keep her calm as she navigated through tumultuous times. The doc prescribed quiet. He told her that when she got home from work, she should go directly into her bedroom, turn off the lights and any electronics, and close the door. When she protested that she had toddlers, the doc said get a sitter or let your husband do it. When she further protested that she had to make dinner, the doc said, let your husband order take-out.

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She needed to take care of herself first, like they tell you on airplanes. You get the oxygen mask first so you can help those around you. My friend was running on empty, and becoming increasingly ineffectual in every arena because she was worn down and worn out. So, for a week she came home, lay on her bed in a darkened room and relaxed. “Absolutely no stimuli,” the doc had said. And it worked. After a time of simply lying in the dark doing nothing, she recovered.

 

Work Ethic

 

Many of us grew up feeling guilty for every moment we weren’t productive. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” is a phrase we heard in childhood. Even as grownups, when we try to relax, we tick off a list of things still undone. It is rare to let our minds come to rest, utterly and completely. We have been steeped in a work ethic that is hard to let go of, partly because we feel we may lose our edge if we let up for a minute, or we will be judged for not optimizing our time.

 

If that is how you feel, then it may be a long time since you’ve actually let your mind be at peace, without thinking about what you need to accomplish, or what is left undone as you attempt to meditate. Your monkey mind reminds you of all the things you need to do. So, you probably seldom spend time when your mind is at complete rest, with no stress or pressure weighing on you.

 

Irony

 

The irony is, if you let your mind rest in quiet, you will likely refresh and renew, with more energy and mental clarity than if you soldier on, trying to be strong. With total rest, you are more resilient, more patient, more ready to tackle the hard stuff of life. So, clearing your mind and letting it be quiet can actually help you achieve more.

 

Here are a few ways to rest your mind in today’s busy world:

 

When you wake up in the morning, think of your purpose in life, and give yourself over to it. Lean into it, bathe in your knowledge of self, and let yourself go with it.

Take time out during the day to notice your breathing. Experience inhaling and exhaling with focus. Pay attention to your breath and nothing else for a few minutes.

You may combine your focus on breathing with sitting quietly, doing nothing while remaining present with yourself. This may be a type of meditation.

When you complete an item on your to-do list, take a little time out before you start another task. Allow yourself to shift gears slowly and with purpose.

Clear a time in your day when you are no longer beholden to any messages or beeping electronics. You need to have a daily vacation from being “on” for the sake of others. You need to be “off” for the sake of yourself.

 

Your brain needs to take time out to replenish and renew itself. As you rest, let yourself fully engage in its pleasures. Doing nothing is good for you.

 

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact

 

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