5 Ways to Power Down a Busy Mind
How to do it: When you feel yourself darting out in a thousand different directions, rather than play Whac-A-Mole with your email, immerse yourself in one of your most challenging projects, one that will require your full attention.
Try it when: Your energy is high (as in, not at bedtime), but you're feeling stressed because you have your hands in a bunch of different half-done tasks.
How to do it: Commit to regular daily doses of human moments, says Hallowell. Whether that's coffee with a friend or a hair appointment—interact with a real person in the flesh, not on your phone.
Try it when: You don't remember when you last spoke a word out loud to another person.
How to do it: Try standing on one leg with your eyes closed (better yet, try it on a wobble board). Change your clothes or put on your shoes without sitting down or holding onto anything. Challenging your proprioception (awareness of where your body is in space) has a way of zapping nagging thoughts.
Try it when: Your brain is about to explode.
How to do it: Get yourself a packet of tiny dot-shaped stickers, and put them in select places where you'll come across them regularly: On the back of your phone, on the fridge, the bathroom mirror, the steering wheel. Every time you see one, take three deep, grounding breaths. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found yogic breathing to be a beneficial adjunct treatment for those suffering from anxiety and stress disorders—even those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Don’t have stickers handy? Train yourself to pair breathing with actions you do every day; for instance, every time you walk through a doorway or open the fridge.
Try it when: Your thoughts are racing so fast you can't keep up.
How to do it: Set a timer for one minute and breathe from the diaphragm (also known as abdominal breathing, in which you allow the belly to expand on the inhale). Make your exhales twice as long as your inhales; this can stimulate your mental recovery.
Try it when: You're between meetings or you have a big presentation where you've got to be at the top of your game and want to quiet your mental chatter.