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How to Quiet Your Mind

Photo by Andrea D’Aquino (Germany)

Do you regularly feel at ease and at peace? Are you continuously overflowing with Joy and Bliss on a daily basis, such that you seem free of problems and emotional pain? If so, go directly to the comment section and share with us your secrets.

If you’re still reading, you are amongst the vast majority of us striving for a better life, yearning for a more peaceful and joyful existence. Yet, it seems like an impossible challenge, where we end up mentally punishing ourselves for failing, concluding that “I’m just not made to live in peace.”

You see, it’s not us, it’s just that we’ve become so easily distracted by the hurrying demands of modern life, that we’ve temporarily lost touch with our natural state of being. But there is a way, if we seek it.

The purpose of this article is to share a simple technique to bring more peace, joy and clarity into your life. Would you like that?

Why It’s Hard to Find Peace and Joy?

If you observe our problems, you will notice that most problems are rooted in the mind. The basic premise is the same: some external event happens, we choose to see only one side of the story, and then interpret the situation such that it causes some form of mental conflict, resulting in some form of emotional suffering.

While it is easy to simply say, “drop your problems”, you and I both know that it is not that simple. We all have had years and years of conditioning in attracting problems and conflicts. So much so, that the simple concept of ‘stop thinking about problems’ will not be so effective on us. We need tools that strike at the problem’s root.

Let’s now try something. Close your eyes for about a minute (or 5 minutes), and during this minute, send out the intention that you want silence and stillness, and you do not want to be pulled away from this silence by thoughts. (Pause your reading and go do this.)

Okay, so what happened? You probably noticed that the moment you become silent, thoughts started popping up – random and unrelated thoughts. These thoughts become a form of distraction, pulling us away from our inner silence.

This was only an experiment where we consciously observed our mind and tried to become still, but could not. Imagine the state of our inner space, while we are going about our day, unaware of the polluting in-coming thoughts.

As a result, our inner space becomes cluttered with useless information, with thoughts that are not conducive to our wellbeing, with garbage. Because our inner space is cluttered, our inner clarity and in-born wisdom becomes distant and foggy. And essentially, we loose touch with that part of our inner selves that is sacred, and wise, and peaceful, and eternal.

The distractions that we’ve declared as urgent and important, such as watching TV, updating our facebook and myspace and twitter pages, checking email, gossiping on the phone, loading mp3s on our music players, etc. all pull at us. They all pull at our attention, distracting us away from the things that are truly important to us – things that will bring lasting happiness and fulfillment to our lives and the lives of others we have yet to come to know.

Whether we recognize it or not, the information that we expose ourselves to, fills our inner space on some level, and affects our emotions and desires.

And if we are not careful, we can easily rush through life, while spending our precious time on this planet focused on that which does not matter – and then wonder where did my life go? Why do I feel unsettled and easily irritated? Why do I feel unfulfilled and incomplete? And then we die wondering.

If you are here, breathing and reading this right now, then you have been blessed with this day, to wake up! Wake up and take control of your destiny, starting with what you focus on and allow into your life (regardless of your age).

Simple Guide to a Deep Inner Cleanse

One way to clean out the clutter in our inner space is by guarding the garden of our mind. Being conscious of what we allow inside, starting with our own words, thoughts and attention.

We may not be aware of this, but we spend so much energy on gossiping, bad mouthing other people, judging other people, finding faults in others, and consumed in negative thoughts like jealousy, guilt or fear, and making excuses to cover up how we actually feel. I know all this sounds really bad and exaggerated when it’s all laid out like this. But if we truly observe ourselves, our thoughts and our words, we will notice that at some point of everyday, however subtly or unconsciously, we are doing several of these things.

I’m not pointing fingers, I can only speak from my own experience and confirm that this is true. Sometimes, the “violation” is subtle, like passing a negative judgment on a waiter at a restaurant, or becoming frustrated with a telephone customer service rep and wanting to call him a bad name, or making a little lie of an excuse instead of saying no.

It’s not that by having these thoughts or saying these words we become bad people. It’s just that these things become useless junk that clutters our inner space and does not contribute to our inner wellbeing.

Photo by Carlos Yepez (see him on flickr).

I had learned the following simple but incredibly effective technique from Swami Nithya Bhaktananda, spiritual counselor and direct disciple of Paramahamsa Nithyananda (Swamiji).

Follow these four rules to inner cleanse:

  1. Say what you mean. Mean what you say.
  2. Don’t say to anyone unless you can say to everyone.
  3. Don’t say inside, what you cannot say outside.
  4. Don’t say unless it is true, useful or kind.

I will expand on each rule in detail. If you want, you can print a wallet size of the 4 rules here: PDF | Word Doc


The 4 Rules to Quiet the Mind – Explained

1. Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

Part A: Say what you mean.

Have you found yourself making up excuses to avoid fully dealing with a potentially uncomfortable situation?

For example, your friend asks you to some social event. You don’t really want to go, but make up an excuse that “I can’t make it” or “I’m busy“, probably so you can quietly avoid something or someone or some activity.

Another example, someone asks you for a favor that you do not wish to comply to, but you feel guilty for rejecting him, so you either avoid that person (ie. Ignoring emails or phone calls), or create an excuse that isn’t really true (ie. I am out of town.)

It is not that you cannot do something, as your excuse suggests. The truth is that you have chosen not to do something, but the act of creating an excuse or avoiding it initiates a stir in your inner space, and it takes energy to maintain. Instead of stillness and peace, you are now holding onto and thinking about this little lingering “lie”.

When you are about to say anything, make a conscious decision to say the absolute truth, or what you actually mean. The absolute truth doesn’t have to be harsh or hurtful, you can do so compassionately and authentically, but firmly. When you own what you say, no one can reject it, even if they don’t like what they hear; because you are telling the truth and you mean it.

Part B: Mean what you say.

Sometimes we say things in passing out of obligation or habit that we don’t mean or intend on following through with. For example, we say, “I love you” to our parents or significant other when we hang up the phone, not because we mean it, but out of habit. The words comes so automatically now, that they start to lose their true meaning.

In another example, we will say, “I’ll call you soon“, “let’s chat soon“, or “I’ll call you tomorrow“. Or we offer to help, as parting words to a friend, and don’t intend on keeping that statement, but say it because it was easy and made the other person feel good.

We may think that these casual comments are harmless, but we know deep down that they are not true. They become little lies that we internalize, and over time they will develop into a guilty conscience that distracts you away from this moment.

Make a conscious commitment to yourself to mean everything that you say, and not to make empty promises that you cannot, will not, do not intend to fulfill.


2. Don’t say to anyone unless you can say to everyone.

Whether we admit to this or not, most of us love some form of gossiping (myself included). We are also quick to notice fault in others, and then talk about them with our trusted allies. Or we find out about someone’s misfortune and immediately we want to tell somebody.

I’m sure you can interject and include many examples from your life. But for sake of conversation, one example is: Jenny, at work, had an emotional fit and yelled at a co-worker today, and when we got home, we immediately told our spouse about the drama.

Another example, Pat was fired from his job, once we heard about it, we called or text-messaged our best friend Jane to tell her about it, or even exchange jokes about Pat, because we don’t like him.

In both examples, we cannot repeat the same things to everyone, especially Jenny or Pat. And if we really observed our inner space during and after we said these things, we wouldn’t feel very good in our stomach.

When we consciously observe such a conversation, we learn that we have accomplished nothing that feeds our soul. All we did was spread drama and created negative energy and inner conflict that polluted our inner space.

Make a commitment to yourself, that you will not say something to one person, unless you can announce it to the world, to everybody. Make a commitment to stop the spreading of drama and bad energy.

3. Don’t say inside, what you cannot say outside.

Most of us are extremely critical of ourselves. Because we would never tell the world what we say to ourselves, in the privacy of our mind, we believe that we are the only ones affected by negative self-talk, low self-esteem, and anxiety.

When something doesn’t go perfectly, we are first to blame ourselves, criticizing what we did wrong, what we didn’t do perfect enough, what we missed.

We all have inner chattering, but problems arise when we start to believe in our inner chattering, such that false beliefs about ourselves are formed. These false beliefs become detrimental to our spirits and future wellbeing, unless we do something to unlearn these beliefs.

Next time, you hear the voice in your head say “I’m stupid” or “I’m not good enough” or “I am a failure” or other related self-defeating thoughts, recognize that it is not you. You could verbally say, “That’s not me! That’s not true!” and even declare the following to this thought,

From today forward, I choose to let you go, for you are no longer serving me. I am exposing you, for you are not real! From today onward, I am free from you.

The basic premise of the third rule to inner cleanse is that, whatever thought you are not able to say out aloud to people (anyone), don’t even bother entertaining inside your head. Keep your inner space clean.


4. Don’t say unless it is true, useful or kind.

Some people have so much inner chatter that it spills out of them in the form of useless speech.

Observe the people who talk on buses, or love to chitchat at work by the water fountain. If you observe and count the number of things they say that are actually useful or truly interesting, it would be a low number.

Not only is this distracting for those around this person, it takes an enormous amount of energy for this person to keep talking. Recall the last time you talked for a long time about something random, and how drained you felt afterwards. Plus, the more useless things we say, the more useless things we feed back into our head.

If you feel that I’ve described you, don’t feel discouraged. I’ve been there too, and can contest that it is possible to quiet down.

Some people practice sabbatical days where they don’t speak at all, or read, or use the computer. And at the end of such a day, they feel a tremendous sense of peace, space and energy bubbling inside them.

Be conscious of what you say and only say it if any of the following is true:

Is what I’m saying …

  • True to me? An authentic statement from my heart?
  • Useful or helpful to someone or some situation?
  • Kind or compassionate? Such as a compliment, or an offer of help?

Parting Words: On Quieting The Mind

This post was born out of 4 simple sentences someone gave me a few months ago. After practicing it in my own life, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you give this simple 4-line guidance a try for 21 days, you will notice a beautiful inner transformation – from noise to stillness, from chaos to clarity.

It may seem difficult at first, but do it consistently and consciously for 3 days and it becomes much easier after that. Extend it to 7 days, and then to 21 days. Please do not kick yourself for slipping on the rules, it happens, let it go.

After some time, observe how your outer world changes, as your inner world is transformed. Please come back and share with us.

One more thing: Let your heart guide you. Trust it, and listen to it.

(Again, you can print a wallet size of the 4 rules here: PDF | Doc)

Editor’s Note: Speaking of slipping the rules, while Jeremy was editing this article, he stopped at one point, to colorfully curse out the upstairs neighbor for making loud bizarre noises. Then we both looked at each other and laughed at the irony. Another lesson learned.

* Share your thoughts and story with us in the comment section.
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Training the human mind is a lifelong process. Online degrees are a great way to further one’s education. Great Degree offers a ton of online degree information so that one can continue their journey to train their mind.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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141 thoughts on How to Quiet Your Mind

  1. I love this article. It was the first one I’ve read from the website and the main one I always keep coming back to.

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  4. Vimal Rao

    Helped a great deal.

  5. Suman Gill

    I am feeling happy and quite relaxed after reading this article. I needed this words to settle the inner chattering of my mind. I will practice the 4 principles for 21 days to heal my mind. I wish to change my outlook for better…
    Thank You so much

  6. As a Holistic Counselor and life before as a massage therapist, I have spent decades learning to relax others. Major benefit, I found that I was becoming more relaxed and peaceful too. Now I teach it – living in the present moment, slowing down, breathing deeply and talking care of the most important person in my life, ME! Some may feel putting yourself first is selfish, I say it’s SELFfull. I take responsibility for myself, I love myself, I play, spend time creatively and do what I love. I am thankful daily, grateful for my friends and all that I have. I pray that each day to remain on a loving path. It’s really not all that difficult – like most things one is successful at, it takes commitment and determination and above all PATIENCE :)

  7. I always used to read post in news papers but now as I am a user
    of net thus from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web.

  8. What’s up everyone, it’s my first go to see at this website, and piece of writing is in fact
    fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these articles or reviews.

  9. Robert

    I have obsessions, my mind rarely stops obsessing about a subject. Very intrusive thoughts that others would find emotionally distressing, this use to be the case for me. No more though. I’m able to sit down and not move for as long as I want. Every desire that enters my mind, instantly falls back in that space.

    No matter what happens in my life I can go on living with a smile.

    All I can say is find yourself. Know you who are. If you are consciousness itself than everything rotates around you.

    A quite mind does not mean having no thoughts. A quite mind means knowing truth. Knowing truth does not come from knowledge it comes from you. If you know all your ideas of life, all your desires all your happiness and laughter is all pretend. Even your love means little. If you know this without the knowledge if it comes from the very center of your being, than your mind is quite.

    Understand that all your seeking for happiness and joy, is part of the problem. When you cannot sit in peace just because you are stressed, whatever that stress may be, you need to find the source of that stress, that source is never outside of you, never “your” problems. Never find solace externally. You will see chasing things that make you feel good, drive you fruther and further into stress and pain. You can never avoid any bad feeling, you need to surrender completely to all sought of discomforts.

    Be happy do not chase it. Once you work out your stresses only happiness will be left.

    There is joy and pain in this world. Having a quite mind you see clearly how them two things effect you in this world.

  10. james

    More than five years ago I was on the verge of a major break down. Two failed marriages, along with child custody battles, job loss, repossessed home, and just an over all emotional pain most of my life. I was ready to jump off a bridge. I turned to religion which only made things worse, as there were so many rules and ways to be in order to be accepted in the chosen religious organization.
    The idea came to me to learn more about meditation. I had a childhood friend introduce meditation when I was in my twenties, but I just didn’t have the time nor patience to pursue the practice. So I went on line and searched how to meditate. I came across a couple of products (which was not cheap). I decided to take the leap and ordered one. (I will not say which product I chose as there are many to chose from, and it should be of your choice.)
    To be more clear this products claimed to bring you to a meditative state with in minutes, such as a monk meditating for twenty years experiences. (it’s called brain intrainment.) There are sound wave on certain frequencies that will force your mind to focus. These studies have been going on since the nineteen fifties. The Monroe institute has been a leader in this field. I must worn you if you do decide to walk this path it can be stressful at times. It will force you to faced your self and will take you through some emotional problems you’ve been struggling with. I’ve had some friends that wasn’t willing to suffer through this process. But if you decide to accept the challenge and to truly face your self, the rewards are boundless. You will experience some major changes with in your self and will come out the other end born again (as the Jesus has mentioned.)
    I now have a very peaceful life, I have not yet completed the program as it takes about seven to ten years, but I’m about half way there, and I tell you that I have started living a new life, one that I have been trying to find all my life.
    Peace to all, and be well my fellow beings

  11. Marvell

    Just relax daily and dont pay to much attention to man made items. Hearing to many sounds in a day can last for weeks……minimize those sounds and slowly but surly……your mind will be quiet and at ease. It takes months and sometime years to do.

  12. Sabrina


    I really love this article and I plan to follow each step. I was wondering if you could help me with the other voices in my head. When I was little I had imaginary friends and I still have them. It bothers me sometimes and I feel as if they were actually real people. Sometimes I wonder if its just me wanting to have more friends that like exactly what I like and think exactly like do or if I’m just going crazy.

    I would really appreciate the help to over come this and put an end to my childhood friends.

  13. kuldeep

    To silence the mind first you should know the mind. What is Mind?

    Mind Is owner of our senses and our senses easily get attracted to the outer world. for Eg. eyes want to see beautiful. tounge want good taste nose wanna good smell etc etc these things create attracttion and the mind want more and more. This is all bodily needs.

    You have to seperate yourself from this bodily needs because you are not this body, this body is your vehicle for life to live good life not to get attatched with it. If u beleive in yourself that you r more than body and want to connect with the superself than

    1) You are pure soul
    2)this body is ur relative
    the world is based on scientific circumstance evidence.
    Do not hurt anyone
    Your mind will become quiet in no time.

    God bless
    Love you

  14. Ryan

    I skipped to the comments section to share my secret. 14 years ago I realized that my mind had become submissive and waits for me to activate it with my attention. When I was in 1st grade I was intrigued by the idea of the silent mind that I was exposed to in a Korean martial arts class. The men in that class had a composure that seemed alien and extraordinary. At the age of 18 I managed to cultivate a state of inner peace and mental silence. Once this was achieved, that state became the default for me and has remains so for the last 14 years.

    My time in the martial arts class was brief and so I had to figure it put on my own. This is a tragic failure of our education system as this skilled multipies ones ability to learn and effortlessly understand.

    Here’s how I did it. I think of the mind as a separate entity. Like a dog. Image the difference between an untrained dog and a highly trained dog. The untrained dog starves for attention and demands it at all times. The trained dog waits knowing that it will be ignored if it demands attention. The dog’s owner will give the dog attention only when he wants to. This is how the mind works. It is fueled by attention. The irony is that the mind has pitiful intelligence. If I were to let my mind write this for me, it would be like getting a dog to write a letter. Instead this writing flows from who knows where and my mind stays the hell out of the way and so the writing happens as fast as my thumbs can type it out on the screen.

    There is a place for the mind. Sometimes at work when I want to build something (I’m a custom fabricator) I will visualize the contruction, trying different configurations until I find something that is elegant. In this way, the mind is an excellent problem solving tool. The idea is to get the mind to work for you the owner. Think of the owner of the dog as your true self. The observer. The own who directs the powerful spiritual currency of attention. Attention is love, the word love confuses the issue because there are so many human constructs surrounding it. Attention is the key, you must be aware of what you are doing with it. It is the most powerful force that we command.

  15. A quiet mind is developed through practice, stress is automatic. Meditation is one of the fast and best tools for finding inner peace and quiet. It’s a wonderful tool to help put space between you and the world’s distractions.

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