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How to Actually Quiet a Busy Mind

This week, 'Therapy Begins with Tea' steeps on the key to quieting a busy mind and offers a body based check-in to practice getting into your body.

how to reduce anxiety

Therapy Begins with Tea is a weekly newsletter based on the themes that come up in my sessions as a therapist who specializes in imposter syndrome, attachment styles in romantic relationships, and our psychological relationships with money. Each week consists of a 'steep' in thought reflection, an accompanying body based check-in, and tea card intentions for the week to come.

'Steep' in Thought (3-5 min)

'Just do less,' 'Just rest more'

A mind on overdrive shows up in different ways -- difficulty concentrating on any one thought, spiraling, or anxious hypervigilance. For some, it’s an inability to enjoy rest. For many, it’s trying (in vain) to negotiate with your brain and the numbers on the clock, with “okay, if I go to sleep right now, I can still get...” playing on loop for hours at night.

A lot of the advice we’re given to quiet a ‘busy mind’ is to do less & rest more. And that can be helpful, but only to a point. Because our minds are like a Tupperware container holding water (go with me on this). Picture a container full of water; then picture removing the right half of the water (not off the top, but from the side). There is less water, yes, but that right side won’t stay empty -- the water from the left will spread to fill up the empty space. And our thoughts do the same thing. We can’t just empty out space in our mind; we have to fill it with something.

Getting into the body

Quieting the mind means getting into the body. That embodiment (think ‘in body’-ment) can come from movement, mindfulness, meditation, hobbies, connection, therapy, any act of curiosity that uses the senses. Try out this week’s full body check-in to practice moving into your body as a way to quiet your mind.

Full Body Check-In (2-4 min)

We start with the breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth. It’s a simple action, but there’s also a lot to notice there, to be curious about. The sensation of air flowing through your nostrils -- is it cold? Is it quick? What happens next? Follow the sensation as your body fills with air. What parts expand? And when you breathe out, what happens?

We can always use our breath to experience embodiment, but let’s expand on it by using our senses. Wherever you are now, take inventory. What do you see? Name it. Then, try what you hear, the obvious and the subtle. Name it all. Then, smell. After, touch. Then taste. Check in with yourself about how you’re feeling. Repeat as many times as you’d like.

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