Do you feel like you’re stuck in your past? Perhaps certain patterns in your life no longer serve you, but you can’t stop yourself from repeating the thoughts, emotions, or actions associated with those patterns.
Sometimes, you are bogged down by thoughts of unaccomplished goals and dashed expectations, which keep you from making meaningful progress.
While these experiences are a normal part of life, you must figure out how to reset your mind to escape these patterns, let go of the past, and live the life you truly want.
I dare say that pressing the reset button on your mind is pretty simple but not easy. Think of it like reading about dieting ― simple instructions in theory, but not quite easy when it comes to real-world application.
In other words, while the suggestions about resting your mind are not difficult to understand, implementing the tips requires commitment and consistency.
As you already know, habits aren’t formed overnight ― you have to do a thing over and over before it becomes a habit. If you struggle in certain areas of your life, make up your mind to consistently apply the tips in this article. That’s the only way to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.
Can You Really Reset Your Mind?
No doubt, you can’t unknow what you already know because the brain doesn’t have a delete or undo button.
However, you can alter your habits by creating and strengthening new patterns in your brain. This is called neuroplasticity ― your brain’s ability to change and program new pathways based on your experiences.
Each time you repeat an emotion or a thought, you strengthen the beliefs implanted in your mind. For example, you may want to change a thought pattern (perhaps, a self-limiting belief). You can deliberately choose another belief and supporting action and repeat them over and over to rewire your mind and reinforce the neural pathway in your brain.
Okay, all of these may sound a bit abstract, especially if you’re not too keen on science. The bottom line is this: you can reset your mind if you know where the reset button is and are willing to press it.
Remember that getting a fresh start starving certain neural pathways while feeding newer ones. Once again, it takes determination and effort, but the reward is well worth it.
How to Reset Your Mind: 9 Effective Ways
1. Create a Helpful Routine and Stick To It
It is difficult to reset your mind without establishing new routines. Neural pathways aren’t created by sheer willpower ― repetition is the key!
A routine conditions your mind and body to know what to expect. This way, you are not overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks you’ve not completed and ultimately reduce your stress level.
However, starting a routine is only one part of the equation. You must follow your new routine religiously for your mind to adapt and accept it as part of your life.
Whether you start a morning or evening routine is all up to you. The most important thing is to be consistent.
If you are unsure about what should make up your daily routine, check out these morning habits of high performance for tips.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Staying up late usually means waking up late and feeling overwhelmed because you’ll spend the first few hours of the day rushing.
Even if you wake up early enough, there’s a high chance you’ll feel exhausted because you didn’t get enough shut eyes at night. As you probably experienced severally, when you are not well rested, the entire day feels like a struggle, and you are easily irritated.
Besides reducing fatigue, stress, or a feeling of irritability, how does getting more sleep help reset the mind?
Here’s how sleep resets your brain.
Research shows that our brains are primed for more learning when we get adequate sleep. The links between the nerve cells in the brain (called synapses) shrink by approximately 20% when we sleep to allow for more growth and learning during our waking moments.
In other words, inadequate sleep prevents your brain from growing and learning more during the day.
Perhaps you can’t sleep well at night because you struggle with anxiety, which worsens at night. If that’s the case, I strongly recommend reading this article for practical tips on dealing with the problem.
3. Take Breaks From Social Media
For many, this is one of the most challenging aspects of the mind reset process. Like other addictive behaviors, using social media can trigger dopamine (the feel-good chemical in the brain), making it difficult for impulsive social media users to stay away from their internet-enabled devices.
Disconnecting from your screens can help you connect with yourself on a deeper level. I’m not suggesting you go cold turkey on social media (although that’s not such a bad idea!), but taking a short break for a week or two can be highly beneficial.
Deleting your social media apps might be too extreme, but you can try these suggestions:
- Turn off notifications for the period you’ll like (I suggest a minimum of one hour)
- Put your phone on flight mode for extended periods
- Keep your phone away for long hours
- Set screen time limits
By limiting social media usage, you clear your headspace and free up time for more productive things. You can use those extra hours to engage in self-care practices or spend quality time with family and friends.
Speaking of clearing your headspace, meditation is a useful tool for improving your mental space.
You need to detoxify your mind if you are always looking for new stimuli, the next update, or something to keep your mind engaged.
Meditation isn’t about having zero thoughts. Instead, it is a tool that lets you control your attention so you can deliberately channel your focus.
Besides, adding meditation to your daily routine can increase relaxation, improve your health and well-being, enhance your self-awareness, and helps you shift your mood whenever you want.
Don’t know how to reset your mind with meditation? I’ve covered that in this article, so make sure to check it out.
If you find meditation a bit difficult or somewhat not agreeable, simply do something that helps you to focus on the present moment. For example, take a walk in nature, practice yoga, paint or draw, listen to music, or write in your journal.
The goal is to help you be more mindful and live in the moment instead of constantly chasing the next dopamine rush.
5. Move Your Body
Many people associate exercise with physical health and staying in shape. But exercise goes beyond physical health to improving mental health.
Have you noticed that you feel a lot better when you exercise? That’s because a good workout releases endorphins in the brain, which help to improve your mood and relieve stress.
A 2010 study shows that exercise can help improve symptoms of depression, so opt for a good workout whenever you feel cast down instead of reaching for an antidepressant.
The good news is that you don’t need difficult exercises to clear your head and boost your mood. Start with something simple like:
- Walking your dog
- Dancing to your favorite music
- Running or jogging
- Playing golf
The important thing is to do exercises that are comfortable for you and resonate with your personality.
6. Learn New Stuff
Learning new things keeps your mind sharp because novelty and curiosity help the brain to thrive. It doesn’t matter whether it is a new language or skill; novel experiences can alter brain structure and function, even in older adults.
Thanks to modern technology, you can learn new things, even if you don’t have much time and money. You can access information on nearly anything you want right from your home, thanks to the internet.
Here are a few things you can learn:
- A new musical instrument
- Exotic dishes
- New workouts
- Learn a new language
The most important thing about this mind reset method is to remain curious. Your brain will be busy trying to figure out solutions to your query that it won’t have time to entertain worrisome or anxious thoughts.
7. Explore Positive Emotions
Your emotions are there for a reason, regardless of how they feel. It is unrealistic and unhealthy to block out unpleasant emotions that don’t feel so good. A well-rounded person must experience a full range of emotions to maintain good mental health.
That said, one of the best things you can do for your mind is to dwell on the emotions that feel good and move quickly through the ones that don’t feel so good. That way, you get the beneficial impact of positive emotions while reducing the depleting effects of negative emotions.
Find ways to focus on positive emotions, no matter the situation. You are not avoiding negative emotions but deliberately reframing your thoughts and, in turn, reprogramming your mind to look at the situation differently.
With a little practice, you can be more hopeful, grateful, loving, joyous, inspired, and interested instead of dwelling on bad-feeling emotions.
8. Do a Brain Dump
Sometimes, bottling your thoughts can be detrimental to your mental health. Still, you may not be willing to share some fears, worries, and concerns with others, especially if they are very personal.
Here’s how to reset your mind and start afresh without disclosing things you want to keep private: do a brain dump once in a while.
A brain dump is similar to journaling, but it is a more powerful emotional release because it doesn’t restrict you to a specific format as with journaling. When you do a brain dump, you simply write whatever comes to your mind without editing.
It doesn’t matter what you’re thinking or feeling and whether it is appropriate or not. Just grab a pen and paper and let the words flow!
You’ll most likely feel relieved at the end of writing, even though your current situation hasn’t changed. That’s because pouring out what you have bottled up can be emotionally liberating.
If you ever need to press the mental reset button, a brain dump might just be what you need to clear your head.
9. Eat Well
Different foods release different brain chemicals, which impact your concentration, motivation, and overall mood. This is why paying attention to what you eat is crucial, especially if you want to reset your mind.
Take good care of your gut, and your brain will thank you. Research shows that certain neurotransmitters produced by gut bacteria impact your mood.
Bottom line: eat a balanced diet and ensure to include fermented foods, prebiotics, and probiotics in your meals. These will keep your gut in good shape and help the brain function well.
Here’s something else to remember in addition to eating good food.
Pay attention when you feed your body. Enjoy the process of eating ― be present as you eat instead of distracting yourself with your phone or TV.
A brain reboot is necessary once in a while. And now that you know how to reset your mind, here’s one important thing to remember. The key to resetting your mind is to start with baby steps, no matter how quickly you desire to change.
Biting more than you can chew often leads to giving up before the habit you’re trying to form sticks. For this reason, only do what feels comfortable and safe for you in the present moment.
With continuous exercise (consistent practice), your mind will develop stronger muscles, and your life will go in the new direction you’ve always wanted.