Have you ever struggled with clearing your mind? Perhaps you still do? I know I have in the past. It can be unhealthy for you for a number of reasons including creating stress and insomnia. The ability to get deep restful sleep, and do deal with stress are things that will affect how happy you are in life and how productive you are. So how do you quiet your mind?

“Just let go,” some people will say. “Stop stressing and chill out.”

But it’s really not as simple as that, is it?

Be happy that you’re reading this, as that in itself is the first step. The fact that you’re reading this means you are taking steps to improve your quality of life. And that’s great!

Calming your mind can sometimes seem like an impossible challenge and we end up mentally punishing ourselves for failing, concluding that “It’s just not possible.” This is simply not true as we all have the potential to be at peace.

This should be our natural state of being, it’s just that keeping up with the demands of modern day life can make that seem like a distant concept for some people.

You may have heard before that meditation is the key to a quiet mind. And this is true, but meditation does not come easily to a lot of people. My friend once told me that there is a difference between meditating and the state of meditation.

What did he mean by this? Well, meditating is making the conscious effort to try and silence your mind, whilst the state of meditation is silencing your inner dialogue.

But what you have to realise is this doesn’t mean quieting your mind in the way most people expect. The mind isn’t going to stop thinking. The goal of meditation and mindfulness isn’t to suppress thinking, but to surpass it. It is naturally allowing these thoughts to rise but not be consumed by them.

A way to do this is to not actually focus on your thinking but your breathing, how your body feels, your heart beat or even an external (but calm) noise. For example, from my bedroom window I can hear the neighbour’s stream in their garden and I choose to focus on these.

If you do this effectively, when things pop into your head you can look at them and realize they are just thoughts, and let them go. There will be no emotional attachment to them. And that is the key to mindfulness: being present in this moment.

Start off small, maybe just 5 minutes before bed every night. “Every night?!” I hear you say. Yes, I believe every night is the key. Like any skill practice makes perfect and just 5 minutes of practising will make big long term changes.

As I said before, it is actually crucial for your health. Would you go to bed without brushing your teeth? No? Exactly, and that’s how I like to think of it. Before long it will become natural and you will be on your way to living a more peaceful life.