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“A quiet mind hears intuition over fear” – Anonymous

I love this quote, although it’s probably the first Motivational Monday quote that I really, really struggle with. Well, I don’t think I struggle to find intuition, or find what I want, but the whole “quiet mind” is sure difficult to achieve!

Are you with me?  Today’s post is on calming the mind and finding happiness through intuition because I believe that they are both connected, and may be vital to one another.

Finding Happiness Through Intuition 

Sometimes you simply need to find space and time to yourself to calm your mind and make decisions. Other times, being alone seems to escalate the “busy mind” and stress seems to engulf me.

You know that exhilarating feeling you get when you just know you’re on the right path? Well, then you probably know the exact opposite feeling of knowing you’re on the wrong path, and not being sure how to fix it.  How do you get from one to the other?

Well, if we truly need to have “a quiet mind” to hear our intuition, and then follow it,  I’d say this involves three parts:

  • Learning to breathe – So, if you read last week’s post on taking action instead of waiting around for inspiration, you know that I have trouble with this one!
  • Acceptance –  Letting go of controlling everything is another struggle I have. If you slowly let go of trying to control of some aspects of your life
  • Understanding your personality- Well, understanding your personality and how it matches your environment (or doesn’t!) Living in Spain (an inefficient, albeit beautiful, country) is a perfect exercise in gaining patience for me. Also, it helps with my second point above – learning to accept what you can’t change really helps quiet the mind!

 

5 Stress Management Strategies

So, I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on this topic, but I did read quite a bit to find 5 strategies for all of you. Actually, I already use them, or have used them at some point in my life. However, like most people – I’m far from perfect (or perfectly happy). So, I do try to keep improving each and everyone of these to calm my mind.

 

1. Yoga and Breathing

 

Yoga on Beach Intuition

Yoga on the Beach, Barcelona

Now, I did Bikram Yoga for 7 years –  5 in Canada, and 2 in the UK, for most of which I went every Sunday, at 8:00 in the morning. So, if you don’t know about Bikram, it’s super intense, more like a super athletic yoga where you hold postures for a minute. However, they do force you to do Dead Body Pose at the end. Basically, it consists of lying down still on a mat (in a humid room at 40 degrees Celsius).

This was the hardest pose for me! Staying still. Quieting the mind.  It was like torture, though I slowly got a little better at it.

Breathing and doing yoga can help relieve stress, even if it’s just temporary.   Yesterday, a friend and I went to Free Yoga on the Beach here in Barcelona.  Now, it was extremely easy yoga, but breathing in the fresh air, smelling the sea, and doing the inversion postures especially felt great. In fact, I’ve heard invesion postures are supposed to help you sleep better, too.

 

2. Journaling & Gratitude

So, have you ever kept a journal? Sometimes, hearing your intuition works best when you write down your thoughts.  In the past, I’ve done gratitude journals, weekly life journals, notebooks and notebooks full of poetry, and short stories.  However, this is one area of my life that I miss the most, love the most, yet have not returned to.

Once my PhD is over, I plan to really focus on writing.  Not only does it relieve stress for me, but it is a creative outlet that I enjoy.

In fact, while I was reading other blogs this week, I came across Simply Stepping’s Post on 30 Journal Prompts you can use to start writing. It’s great!

 

 

3. Exercise

If you know me, you know I’ve been training really hard for the last year and a half, trying to get the very fit body I have always wanted. Well, it’s been a slow process and trying just about every kind of plan out there hasn’t worked (you can read all about my struggle here, if you’d like).

Now, I have a fitness trainer who works with models and bodybuilders, and we have a new strategy.  Actually, going to the gym, although it’s really hard work, is so energizing. While I know not everyone wants an extremely intense plan, hit your gym when you’re feeling uninspired – and something great might happen!

 

4. Sleep

Now, tip #4 is easy for some and oh-so-difficult for others, like me!  As much as I have always known (and been told over and over again) how important it is, I have never really enjoyed sleeping. In fact, I took a step this year, in January to establish a “sleep deadline” so that I get at least 7 hours every single night (you can read my post on sleep deadlines here).

Wow, it’s more difficult than it sounds!  In fact, you need to force yourself to stop working and I find that difficult.

You know what, though? If you combine super intense muscle training (see point #3) with a sleep deadline, you can trust me that it’s easier to follow. Sometimes my muscles are so sore I have no objection to sleeping early. Well, again, quieting my mind is a bit tricky, but my body is ready to sleep!

 

5. Community

Now, this one is generally not on “quiet your mind” lists, but it is my personal favourite.  Talk to someone. 

Yes, talk to someone.  Personally, I’m always surprised how much less stressed I seem when I discuss my stress with friends and they share their experiences with me.  A sense of community  (while doing a PhD, for example) is key to quieting the mind.  Then, with a quiet mind, it’s easier to realize what you really want to do with your life, and what path you want to follow.

So, those are my top 5 stress management strategies, but I’m not an expert on this particular topic!  I’d love to hear yours, too! What keeps you away from that evil we call “stress”? More importantly, how do you calm your mind?

Have a lovely and productive Monday!

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P.S.  Photo fans, the photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took a few weeks ago in Lisbon, Portugal


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