How to calm your mind (even if you think you can’t)

Calm-Your-MindWritten by Trish

How many times have people suggested you try meditation and you exclaim: “I could never meditate!”

I hear it all the time.

Considering I’m mental (the obsessive-worrying-anxious-dissociative-flashbacks-to-my-psychotic-days-kind-of-mental) and I CAN meditate, I think you are full of poo.

Here is the Metamucil you need to relieve your mental constipation on being able to calm your mind:

  • Why do it?  Decide what is your intention (“an aim that guides action”).  Make it reasonable.  For example: I intend to relax, or I intend to take a break from my hectic day, or I intend to do something good for myself.
  • Redefine “meditation”.  My definition is focusing on intended thoughts that provoke relaxation and a feeling of well-being in my body.
    Once you come up with YOUR definition of meditation, ignore all others.
  • Adjust your expectations.
    • Expect to have thoughts.  Lots of thought.  The intrusive kind.
    • Expect to be interrupted occasionally, no matter how much you’ve threaten the dire consequences of you being  disturbed.
    • Expect to not be able to do it everyday.
    • Expect an itch or two that you will have to scratch.
  • Duration.  It is enough to meditate for 5 minutes.  The accomplishment is showing up.
  • Do what feels good.  If you want to sit in the lotus position–by all means honour your twisted pretzel abilities.  If you want to lie down, or sit in a chair, or sit on the floor with your back against the wall, or be close to a tree, or be floating in the water with your water-wings on… do whatever feels comfortable to you.
  • Focusing.  Use your breath, a mantra, an affirmation, music, the sound of nature, your cat breathing, a meditation CD, a sensation in your body, a visualization… get the picture?
    My recommendation to everyone with busy minds is to change-up what you are focusing on almost daily.  I find my mind wanders more if I am “used to” what I am focusing on.  I spend some time:

    • relaxing whichever body parts are tense
    • tuning into sensations in my body and, in the words of Lennon-McCarthy, “Let It Be”
    • saying affirmations in my head (different depending on my intention that day)
    • asking my body what it needs and giving it
  • Self-compassion.  When you notice you are wandering in your thoughts, gently bring yourself back to the meditation.
    This is not a reason to give up.  It happens.  A lot.
    Try not to measure how many times you get off-track versus the last time.  Some days will be better than others depending on what you have going on that day.
    And you know what?  Some days I just can’t focus at all and I have been meditating daily for 3 years.


The Method

1.  Find a quiet place.  2.  Get comfortable.  3. Focus  4. Practice self-compassion  5. Repeat 4 and 5 until done


What do you think?

I’d love to hear from you.

What is holding you back from meditating?  Or if you do meditate, how do you practice?

Please use the comments below to share your thoughts so everyone can benefit from your experience.


Cartoon credit: Trish Hurtubise


Trish HurtubiseHi. I’m Trish Hurtubise…the founder, curator and an editor for Mental Health Talk. I love serving those who are relegated to the shadows by society by giving them a platform to share their voice and be seen and heard… hence my passion for working with all the wonderful people who have shared their stories and wisdom on MHT.

You may view all posts by me here.

Much love to you.

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  • Earla Dunbar

    Meditation is a personal thing – and remember there is no wrong

  • David T

    Thanks Tricia,

    I have recently started meditating on a regular basis. It is the kind of discipline that I can really get behind. It takes very little time, it doesn’t take any particular skill and even when I am very distracted, the continual act of attempting to focus helps to relax me. So even when I think I am not doing it well, as long as I try, I am doing it well.
    I find that 10 minutes stays with me throughout the day. It is easier to let thoughts that bother me go.
    I am new at this, but I already feel as if it is helping to un-clutter my mind.

    Thanks for the topic. I am interested in hearing from others what their experience with it is.

    David T

  • NB

    Your cartoons alway make me laugh. I needed a laugh today. My day just dosen’t feel right if I don’t start off with meditation.

    • Trish

      Yey!!!!! I am so happy my cartoons make you laugh. That really is my intention though sometimes I think my humour is a little odd.

  • Rachel Miller

    Ha ha! Love it!! My meditation is usually a bit of a mess of thoughts, but eventually I get there!!
    I like your positive direction to meditation- think calming thoughts, INTEND to get to peace and calm.
    Great cartoon.


    • Trish

      Thank you Rachel 🙂

  • manu

    Hi Trish,
    Nice post regarding meditation.

    • Trish

      Thank you Manu. I’m glad you liked it.

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