More methods to deal with a contracted mind and compulsive thinking

There are many things I have tried over the years to stop myself going wrong. Here's a selection of ways that I like to try when I want to break the contracted mind state:

1. Stay with the breath for 10 breaths. This requires some effort and little bit of forcing, but it can break through habitual thinking.

2. Total mindfulness of the body, including the head. Observing the tension in the head and the clarity of the mind - are there blocked places?

3. Get the mind to hear sounds as a continuous flow at the bottom of the head - in one ear and out of the other. Useful once the mind is a little bit open, but listening to music in this way can be a good way to begin.

4. Remain still until the body shakes out the tension - this usually means keeping the mind out of its habitual mode of operation and focusing on the body as a mountain occupying space. There's a kind of reversal in the mode of thinking that goes on - like reversing the current. Things go the other way.

5. Find somewhere empty in the mind space and stay with it.

6. Reconnect with the friendly warm you who's in there somewhere - do Buddhist metta practice, or just think about your cat, or meeting your friends in the street. Connect with that warmth and expand it.

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