Most of us are so hyper-stimulated these days it’s hard to stop the compulsive thinking stirred up by the hectic pace of modern life.
At times, over-thinking might simply create a minor distraction from what we should be doing, so it’s not such a big deal. But there are other times when the thoughts are endlessly racing and it just feels overwhelming, even leading to anxiety or panic attacks.
The thing is, we become less intelligent when we’re stressed an anxious mind can’t process thoughts clearly and this can lead to making poor choices, or else running around in circles and getting nothing done.
How can we switch off all these thoughts?! The answer lies at the tips of your fingers!
We all know people who bite their nails, twirl their hair incessantly or pick at the skin on their fingers… it might even be you. These compulsive behaviors go along with compulsive thoughts – you can’t have one without the other. Our fingers are energetically connected to the mind, and we can easily tell the state of a person’s mind by what the fingers are doing.
By bringing awareness to our body – in this case our fingers – we can immediately change what is going on in our mind. A conscious micro-movement such as wiggling a finger will immediately disengage an over-busy mind. Try it now and see for yourself.
Step 1: Sit or stand wherever you are, and close your eyes. (It’s helpful to close the eyes to avoid adding more external stimuli from the things you see, but if you’re not able to close your eyes – like when you’re driving – then bring your awareness to the sensations in your fingers as best as you can.)
Step 2: Slowly move your index finger in a random pattern – circles, figures of eight, spirals – it doesn’t matter. Make sure you’re breathing throughout the short exercise (and always!).
Step 3: Follow the sensation and movement of your finger with your awareness as closely as you can, and continue this until you notice that the thoughts are slowing down. Once you feel sufficiently calm, shake out your hands and continue with what you need to do.
To maintain this sense of mental calm and focus, you can continue to sit (or stand) with all ten fingertips lightly touching each other, palms apart. This is known as Hakini Mudra, the gesture of power, and it can be done on its own, discreetly and at any time, as a way to build concentration.