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5 ways to quiet the mind


Holistic coach and counsellor Danielle Hanrahan is one of the speakers at the Spice Temple of Knowledge at this year’s Events Uncovered. Read on for a sneak preview of her insightful talk.

Thinking, planning, analysing, worrying – for many people the mind starts to work against them, like an untrained monkey uncontrollably bouncing from one thought to another. The result? Feeling consumed by thoughts that take up much-needed energy for maintaining focus, clarity, engagement and creativity. With these simple practices, the mind can be trained to work with you, not against you.

1. Take a breath
Tuning into the breath allows the mind to momentarily pause its constant mental commentary and to come back to a place of clarity and focus. The breath is an anchor available to us anywhere, anytime, which is why it is such a focus in meditation and yoga practices. Whether at your desk or on the train, simply watch your breath, noticing the inhalation and exhalation. It can instantly calm an overactive mind.

2. Come back to the senses
When excessive thinking becomes our default, we stop using all of our senses. Sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste become desensitised and stagnant, so we may not truly ‘see’ what is in front of us, or really ‘listen’ to a colleague or friend speaking, or find that eating lunch at our desk has made our food tasteless. So, by coming back to the senses – by paying attention to what you see, hear, taste, touch or hear – the mind is given permission to rest and quieten.

3. Schedule ‘worry time’
Worries are a natural part of life, but like stress, there is a healthy balance between worrying to ensure things get done and worrying ourselves sick – literally. Rather than having these thoughts for the entire day, set aside 15-30 minutes either in the morning or evening to worry. Write down all of these thoughts to get them out of the mind and onto a bit of to-do list for the next day and week. By giving yourself ‘permission’ to worry, you stop the ‘worry’ from controlling you.

4. Know your mind
Start to see thoughts for what they are – words floating around in the mind that tell us about who we are, our life and how to live it. Importantly, though, it’s remembering that thoughts are separate from ‘you’. The more you are able to see your thoughts as just a nagging or overprotective family member, the more you will be able to pull away from unhelpful or negative thinking and gain perspective again. 

5. Live in the now
Mindfulness is a bit of a buzzword in today’s world, but for good reason. The mind dislikes the present moment; it prefers to toggle between thinking about the past, which leads to a sense of helplessness and regret, or thinking about the future, which leads to worry, stress and anxiety. The more you are able to refocus back on what you are doing or feeling right now, the more you will be able to separate from your thoughts, find a place of inner calm, and increase resilience and tolerance for uncertainty.

To see Danielle speak about mindfulness practice, and it’s benefits to creative thinking and professional resilience, click here to register.

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