By observing your breathing, relaxing your inner body, and allowing your breathing to reduce, the carbon dioxide level in your body can increase towards a normal level and brain cell excitability calms. In addition, the act of watching your breath is meditative and very helpful to calming the mind. You cannot think while you are relaxing your body and experiencing a shortage of air. Give yourself a holiday from your mind.
If you have never felt your inner body before, try the following exercise.
Place your hand in front of you. Now, close your eyes. Can you now feel your hand? Do you know whether your hand is there? Bring attention to your hand. Hold your attention there. After twenty seconds or so, when you are sure that you can feel your hand, bring attention to your arm. With eyes closed, hold your attention on your arm. After a period, bring your attention as far as your shoulder. Sense the energy vibrations as far as your shoulder. Feel the inner body. When you can comfortably hold your attention on your entire arm, gently move your attention across your chest.
Feel the inner chest. Sense the inner chest. Encourage this area to relax. You can help relax it further by physically tensing and relaxing your chest. Tense your chest and relax, tense and relax. When you have a good feeling for your chest, bring attention to the area around your tummy. You can also help the area around your tummy to relax by physically tensing the tummy and relaxing. A very simple way to do this is to exhale and pinch your nose with fingers. Then try to gently breathe in and out while holding your nose to block airflow.
A stressed mind will always manifest in the tummy. Encourage this area to relax. Encourage this area to still. Encourage this area to be quiet. When you have attention on the inner body, you will have stopped thinking. You cannot think and have attention on the inner body at the same time. Humans are not simply made up of a head. Most people in the Western world are unaware of their body unless it feels pain. The only time that they bring attention to their body is when they are in pain. But your body is your connection with life. Realise this and disperse attention throughout your body.
As you go about your daily activities, try to identify the useless thoughts going about in your mind. Observe your thoughts. Be a passive observer. What are you thinking about? What purpose do the thoughts serve? Are they the same thoughts that you have been thinking for the past weeks, months, years? Are your thoughts beneficial? Do they help you or do they reflect the insane and repetitive nonsense that grips every Western human mind? It is estimated that we have an average of sixty thousand thoughts each day. Furthermore, it is estimated that 90% of these thoughts are repetitive and useless.
An active mind with lots of thoughts is not so easy to switch off at night. If you have spent most of your waking hours investing in repetitive and useless thoughts, how can you switch that off when you go to bed? The more active your mind during the day, the more active it will be at night. This is why people often revert to alcohol and prescribed medications to help them sleep. But this does not work. Numbing the mind is no good, all it does it sweep the issue under the carpet.
The only way to stop useless thoughts is to address overbreathing and to make it a habit to still the mind!