From the Archives: Rest for the Restless Mind (Part One of Two)

No matter what you experience, be it loss, trauma or everyday shocks that are making you restless, here is some guidance on how to find rest for the restless mind, says clinical psychologist Stefan Blom.
Ed’s note: This story was first published on 19 May 2021. But we know it’s a tough time, so we thought you might need something to help you find some calm in the storm that is our political world right now.
It started with me documenting my own restless mind, in a kind of diary, noting the process from disconnection to connection, from restlessness to peace of mind. Over time, I started observing the journeys of others in therapy: From “I am feeling so lost” and “I don’t know what I need”, to “I feel grounded, aligned, centered. the best I have felt in years”.
“How do you find rest for the restless mind?” is the question I hear most often from my clients; it’s a question I have been wrestling with for many years myself. You might believe that finding rest for your restless mind lies in something extraordinary, something you have never heard of before, but it comes in life’s freest, simplest and gentlest ways.
Here, I share some of my own tried and tested ways while weaving in the wisdom of others whose guidance I’ve found worthwhile.
Understand loss and trauma
Loss and trauma often arise from life’s unexpected and inevitable shocks or surprises. They range from everyday shocks, like a car suddenly swerving in front of you on the road or a stranger shouting at you, to more traumatic losses, like the passing of a loved one or the loss of one’s job or one’s health. We underestimate the distressing effects of a child not being well, or a loved one screaming at you or ignoring you. These experiences often shake us to our core as we feel them in our minds, bodies and souls; and yet, despite their real impacts it seems we often spend most of our time suppressing, avoiding and hiding from our truths.
We experience multiple losses during traumatic events, shocks and new beginnings. The birth of a child or getting married can come with many traumatic experiences and losses (along with the beautiful gains). The effects of a break in trust, the loss of job security or mental ill health can be experienced as loss on many levels, limiting our ability to be ...