Now we will look at how to rest our minds. This is the #2 way to step away. Yesterday was all about stepping away from a project to find refreshment and perhaps greater clarity.
Our minds need rest, too
Most of the time we don’t think that our minds need a rest, but they really do. One of the key issues I had to remember about being a hospital chaplain was that the patients I usually visited were inundated with information. Do this or do that. Don’t do this or that. Their minds were often overloaded with information about their medical condition.
I learned early on that sometimes the best thing I could say was absolutely nothing. It certainly wasn’t a time for me to add to their information overload. They needed to let their minds rest through either silence or casual conversation. They needed to be the ones calling the shots. If you’ve ever been in the hospital for a period of time, you know how overwhelmed you feel because your mind is constantly taxed.
Or if you’ve had someone in the hospital you know what I’m talking about. Your mind gets fried with all the things to remember, constantly staying on top of the insurance piece, communicating with long-distance family members. It’s all very mind-draining and mind-exhausting.
We know we feel stressed and we are exhausted and we think a good night’s rest is all we need. And, certainly, that helps but just flopping into bed without taking time for mind-rest mighty restore and refresh our bodies, it won’t do much for our minds because our minds will keep hashing over things in our sleep.
But how do we rest our minds?
For me, it’s prayer and Psalms, the two “P’s” of peace.
Prayer to rest our minds
Even if you don’t adhere to a specific faith, you can pray. Pray for mind-rest. Pray that your mind will calm down and find a level of blissful blankness for a while. It’s being in the moment where all those thoughts that have been taxing your brain just float by and don’t find a home in your mind. Close your eyes and imagine all those stressful thoughts are just floating by and can’t find a home in your mind.
Sit and think of a place you’ve been where you’ve been the most at peace. If you can’t think of a place, make one up. Take your mind on a trip to that place and stay there as long as you need.
You can do this even with a lot of people around. You and your mind can find a place of rest. It’s an art but if hyper-active me can do it, so can you.
Read a Psalm or other piece of prose
Reading a Psalm, or a lovely piece of prose will help. Or really anything that will take your mind off the stressful thoughts.
Some other ideas
Maybe a cup of decaff coffee and/or tea will work for you as you sit quietly for a few minutes but ONLY if you allow your mind to rest by focusing on pleasant things.
Some people quiet their minds by focusing on their immediate surroundings and noticing all the details. Some people like the 54321 method.
Exercise and yoga are excellent ways to calm a stressed mind. Even a twenty-minute walk can clear your mind as long as you notice your surroundings and enjoy your walk.
Quieting the brain is much harder than refreshing the body. Only you will know what works best for you. And even if you are just fine now, how about the future? Everyone should have some mind-rest techniques that work for them. You never know when you might need them.
As I write today, I had to give my own mind a rest as I found my mind wandering to stressful areas. I had to step away and give my mind the rest it needed to perform at its highest level.
God bless and give your mind a much-needed rest today.
PS. I got up this morning (I wrote this post yesterday), and put on some sweatpants for a casual day. They have writing on the side. Guess what it say? Clear Your Mind. Hmmm,………