How to Relax Your Mind in an Overstimulated World
There’s no denying that the world today can feel like a stressful and overwhelming place. With endless headlines and constant access to real-time information through the news and social media, many of us are in a state of hyper-alertness and mental overwhelm that takes an emotional and physical toll on our body. Developing awareness and practices to relax our mind in an overstimulated world can work wonders on our mental health, and transform our day to create habits that can protect our sense of self as we move through the world in a more conscious way.
Causes of mental overload:
Being constantly bombarded (and/or helpless) with the news of the world
Feeling unable to disengage with notifications, work, family or social responsibilities
Overworked or overwhelmed with your tasks on any given day
Lack of quality sleep
Lack of predictable daily routine
Feeling unsafe in our environments
Being exposed to noise, rapid commercials and news everywhere (at the gas station pump, in the waiting room, radio, on social media, TV)
Have no sense of control of things that impact you (job security, state of the world, health, finances, social justice...)
Behaviors to be conscious of:
How many times per hour do you pick up your phone to check something?
Do you scroll through your phone before going to sleep, or have the TV on in your bedroom?
When your mind feels empty, calm or “bored”, do you crave checking social media, the news, or your email? Sometimes we have a mental addiction to overwhelm or feeling “stimulated” by stress.
Do you avoid sitting still or being comfortable in silence?
How many news outlets are you engaging with every day? How does it make you feel when you’re watching these?
Do you allow yourself personal care or mental health days?
When you experience loss, upset or fear, do you allow yourself time to process these emotions?
Do you have a night time routine that is supportive of good quality sleep?
Is there a sense of overwhelm, anxiety, frustration or mental overload during your workday?
Do you feel mentally claustrophobic, uncreative, or uninspired throughout your day?
Solutions to Behaviors | How to Relax Your Mind
When our mental state is overwhelmed, that can manifest throughout the body in a number of different ways. Our mood may sour, our behaviors may become self-sabotaging, our digestion can suffer, and our entire body may feel fatigued. Here are some solutions to the above behaviors if those resonated with you:
Set your phone out of arm's reach while you’re working or driving. Place on silent mode for at least an hour per day.
Practice leaving your phone in another room at least one night per week. Instead, journal, read, practice breathing medication, or color before falling asleep.
Keep a small pocket notebook with you. Every time you want to reach for your phone to mindlessly check something, instead jot down what it is you *really* want to know and how this will make you feel (better?).
Try sitting down in a quiet space to read, draw, journal or make something with your hands in silence. After 5 minutes, how is your mind feeling? Sometimes being comfortable in our own silence takes practice!
Can you limit your time consuming the news to less than 20 minutes per day? Practice setting small boundaries around your news and social media time to protect your mental health and limit mental stress.
If you don’t take personal care or mental health days - what is preventing you from doing so? If you’re able, can you commit to taking at least one per month, or one per season
Acknowledging and processing our emotions is extremely important for our mental health and overall state of wellbeing. Talking with a loved one, journaling these out, or working with a counselor can be deeply supportive of this work.
Devote at least 8 hours to quality, restful sleep every night if you can, or at least once per week to begin.
Engage in deep breathing several times throughout the day (set a reminder on your calendar to do this!). Take 5-10 minute mental breaks throughout the day with Relax Tea. Sip slowly as you disengage your mind from internal and external chatter.
Spend time outside every day to rest your eyes and mind. Nature instantly grounds and calms us, and infuses our mind and spirit with creativity.
Developing Your Awareness
Take a week and observe how some of the above behaviors either support or contribute to your state of mental overwhelm. This takes time and intention, and awareness of your behaviors is the first step to creating habits and practices that can best support you. Are there small changes that you can make to your routines that can protect your mental health? Write these down, and make one sustainable change at a time.
Author: Lindsay Kluge
Herbal Educator, Pukka Herbs US
Lindsay is a clinical herbalist and nutritionist with a passion for bringing plants and people together. Through her work as a teacher and practitioner, she is passionate about helping people feel empowered in their health through community organic gardening, health education, and connection with nature. She has worked in clinical practiced with naturopathic doctors and MD’s alike, bridging the gap between alternative and conventional medicine to bring comprehensive, research based botanical medicine to her local communities. With an undergraduate degree in horticulture and a Masters in herbal medicine, plants are Lindsay's love language. She currently serves as the herbal educator for Pukka Herbs in the US, and teaches clinical nutrition at her alma mater, the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She is a guest lecturer at herbal medicine schools and conferences throughout the US.
MS Herbal Medicine
Years of Experience:
10+ years as a clinical herbalist and nutritionist practitioner