Nobody is immune to stress. Unless you are some kind of monk in the Himalayas, chances are you will face stress at work, in your personal life, or in general.
Stress can be positive, but an accumulation of different stress factors will strain your productivity, your mental clarity, and your morale. The most effective way to contain these effects is to empty your mind regularly.
Stress and disquietude are part of the human condition. We all have our fears, anxieties, and uncertainties. The challenge resides in managing those apprehensions.
6 ways to empty your mind if you are stressed out
If you are having a tough day, a blend of relaxation, fun, and mindfulness will help you regain poise and composure. On this basis, here are some of the best activities to release tension and to empty your mind.
1. Go for a walk in nature
Many people underestimate the power of seemingly banal mind-cleansing activities.
A walk in nature will eliminate all distractions and shift your thoughts away from the daily grind. Leave your phone at home and immerse yourself into the closest natural area you can find.
No boss will track your every movement while you are jogging in the forest. No emails will disturb your mental serenity.
Be at one with your surroundings and concentrate your efforts on seizing the present moment. Even a short, 10-minute stroll in nature will empty your mind for the time being – reducing your stress levels for the remainder of the day.
I usually take this walk in the morning, right before breakfast. This allows me to clear my thoughts before encountering the day.
2. Meditate for 15 minutes
If you’d asked me a couple of years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of meditating every day.
Times change. After trying it out and failing miserably, I decided that I needed to learn what all the fuss is about.
By virtue of constant training, I became better at gathering my thoughts – learning how to subdue my surroundings. After many fruitless meditation challenges, I finally got the hang of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no guru. I’ve simply internalized a technique that allows me to shut down my brain and to empty my mind for a short period of time.
For 15 minutes, I don’t ruminate or ponder, I simply let an air of tranquility take hold of my conscience.
How does this work in practice? Well, sit down, close your eyes and concentrate all of your energy on visualizing a quiet, peaceful place. I always paint an image of a large waterfall in my head.
With enough training, you’ll be able to forget everything but the waterfall, and this will rid your mind of any stress and unease.
Don’t expect to get this right on the first attempt. Start with one minute per day and work your way up from there. After a while, you’ll manage to sedate your thoughts for 15 minutes without pausing.
3. Read fiction
Fictional books offer an escape, a pathway to a different world. This is exactly what our mind needs on stressful days.
Why fiction? Simple, non-fiction books stimulate our brains too much.
If you’re reading about the Great War, Warren Buffett’s investment strategies, or ways to sharpen your negotiation skills, your brain expects instructions – calibrating itself toward education. This is great in almost every instance, but not in the context of emptying your mind.
Fictional novels, on the other hand, relax our brains. We read about fictitious characters and events, gifting our minds unblemished enjoyment instead of critical thinking impetus.
Of course, lots of fictional books contain underlying lessons. However, through fictional protagonists, these messages are scintillating in the background and not mechanically directed toward our brain.
We register them but do not immediately process them – this usually only happens after we finish a book and decide to decipher the story’s underpinning nuances.
If you are in dire need of book recommendations, here are some of my all-time fiction favorites: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Into the Wild by John Krakauer, and On the Road by Jack Kerouac.
4. Tidy up one room in your house
Decluttering your entire home would be overkill but tidying up one particular room can unleash stress-relieving forces.
Cleaning has a meditating effect for many people. By stealing away your concentration, the act of sprucing up your home will prevent you from losing your mind over everyday stress.
In addition to relocating your focus, tidying up will engender a positive result. If your thoughts are negative across the board, you’ll have at least one positive experience to counterbalance that negativity.
Journaling is among the best mind-cleansing activities thanks to its liberating effect. By transferring your fears, hopes, and projections from your mind into a journal, you free up space in your head.
This will instill tranquility and quell your worries for the time being. Tangent to this, journaling is essential on any personal development quest and also a great tool to empty your mind.
I usually incorporate a short stint of journaling into my night routine. This enables me to stow away my thoughts for the night – guaranteeing unbroken sleep.
6. Listen to soothing music
Contrary to television, music works wonders when it comes to decreasing mental stress.
Music serves as a background relaxation device in almost every type of therapy as well as during mediation-, massage-, and yoga sessions.
What kind of music? Well, this naturally depends on your taste and preferences. You should, nonetheless, refrain from listening to loud and raucous songs. Genres like rap, heavy metal or hard rock generally don’t fare well as mind-clearing tunes.
Deep house, slow and relaxing rock like Simon & Garfunkel or Asian-style meditation songs are much better options. If you need some inspiration, check out the soothing mixes of BLUME, ChilloutDeer, and QuietQuest on Youtube.
Useful links on the best ways to empty your mind
- more in the category “Life”
- read 10 steps to instant productivity improvement
- read the ultimate night routine