I recently came across a quote that stuck with me.  It read, “A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear.”  I stumbled onto this quote at a time when my mind was racing with thoughts of daily life.  People were tugging at me from various directions.  Internally, I was putting pressure on myself to achieve and give of myself more and more.

In moments like this, it’s hard to tell which emotions are real and worthy of paying attention to, or which ones are based in fear, anxiety or self doubt.   When anxiety creeps in, I begin to make decisions driven by my need to run from something rather than toward that which genuinely fulfills me.

Reaching this point happens slowly and without notice.  We’re constantly reminded that we should be striving to become more and be better.  After all, we’re told, there in lies the key to happiness.  We lose ourselves in material pursuits and competing to reach the top – taking little time to know whether we’re doing what’s right for the project, the company, our life goals or true happiness.

I’ve learned to recognize the point at which I must stop and quiet my mind so I can create my best life.  It’s when I feel an uncontrollable need to over-function or to withdraw and isolate myself.  At first, when I chose to withdraw, I believed I was being anti-social.  I beat myself up for refusing to keep pushing myself harder.  But as I studied my craft – which is helping others live their best lives – I learned that withdrawing was my unconscious way of quieting my mind.  It wasn’t a personality flaw.  It was a necessary reset – like rest periods between challenging exercises.

Do you recognize the ways your body calls on you to reset?  Do you get snippy or feel irritable?  Do you become exhausted — mentally and emotionally?  Do you rob yourself of the appropriate time to consider your options — making snap decisions that ignore the greater good?  Do you find it difficult to get off the couch? Do you reach for something that will help you escape?  It’s different for everyone.

It’s important to recognize your unique reset triggers.  Once you understand what’s happening, you’ll be able to maximize the downtime.  Put down the remote and sit quietly with a cup of tea and enjoy watching your children play.  Take a walk and block everything out except the sounds of nature.   Meditate.  There are several free online meditation tools that require nothing more than a quiet space and an Internet connection.  If you find that social encounters help you restore, call or visit a friend or family member you enjoy talking to.

Giving your mind this needed break can actually reduce the negative physical affects of feeling overloaded and overwhelmed.  This advice is about more than calming your spirit.  It’s about avoiding health problems associated with unaddressed tension and anxiety.  My work as a Core Energetics Therapist has taught me that emotions live in our bodies and muscles.  If they’re allowed to fester, true health issues can manifest.

So listen to your body, your mind and your emotions.  They’ll let you know when it’s time to restore and reset before moving ahead.  Relying on sound intuition will serve you better in the long run than making decisions when your mind is drenched in fear and anxiety.