The fast pace of the modern world may put our mind in chaotic state. Information comes and goes, we must do this and do that. There are simply too many things that reside in our mind. While it may cause stress or even depression, at the very least it puts us away from a peaceful state of mind. But a peaceful mind is essential for our effectiveness. It keeps us calm no matter how the situation is, and it allows us to stay joyful during the day. At the end of the day, it makes us happier and more productive.

So here Mind like waterI’d like to share 11 ways to have a “mind like water”, a state of mind so peaceful that it’s like a calm water. Pick the ones that work for you:

1. Reduce your use of rational thinking

We need rational thinking, but we tend to overuse it in analyzing our situations and making decisions. That brings a lot of things into our mind which potentially also brings in noise. Is rational thinking really that important? I don’t think so. Even Einstein once said that “I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”

2. Listen to your intuition

While you should reduce your use of rational thinking, you should increase your use of intuition. Listen to your intuition whenever you need to make decisions. Your intuition often knows more than you think. Furthermore, since intuition works instantly, it won’t bring a lot of things into your mind. Your mind will remain calm and peaceful. No wonder Einstein said that “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

3. Listen to your heart

Your heart tells you what is right to do. There is where your deepest value and principles reside. Following what your heart says helps you be true to yourself, and that has a great effect on giving you peace of mind. So learn to listen more to your heart, and do what it tells you to do.

4. Get the stuff out of your mind

This is a basic principle of Getting Things Done (GTD). In fact, the term “mind like water” comes from GTD. You should record the things you need to do or remember on an external system you trust so that they do not occupy your mind. This way your mind will be freed to focus on your current task.

5. Meditate

Meditation is one of the best ways to calm your mind and have a “mind like water”. Even if you do the other ways mentioned in this post, sometimes there is still noise left in your mind. Meditation is a good way to purify it. There are many forms of meditation to choose from.

6. Limit your information intake

Consuming more information often means introducing more noise into your mind. That’s why limiting your information intake is essential to have a calm and peaceful mind. The rule of thumb in consuming information is this: consume information no more than what is necessary. But how do you know what is necessary? Rational thinking may help you figure it out, but I believe that your heart and intuition can help you just as much – if not more.

7. Read spiritual texts

Spiritual texts are among the purest kinds of information you can possibly get. It helps you link together your mind, heart, and intuition. While generally you should limit your information intake, I believe that you can safely consume spiritual texts without introducing noise into your mind.

8. Eliminate unessential stuff

It will be easier to have a peaceful mind if you don’t have too much stuff to worry about. So always look for ways to simplify your life. Eliminate the things which are not essential so that you can focus on the essential. Elimination should be a constant part of your life.

9. Don’t think too much about yourself

We usually think about our own needs and problems most of the time. But self-centered thoughts rarely bring peace into our mind. Quite the opposite, it may make us feel stressed and frustrated. So don’t think too much about yourself; forget yourself for a while.

10. Do something for others

Instead of thinking too much of ourselves, we should think more of others. Think of what you can do for others and do it. There is joy in giving which will give you peace of mind.

11. Slow down

In whatever you do, you do not need to be in rush. Doing so may only bring you faster to the wrong direction. First of all, you need to know where is the right direction to go. Slow down so that you can clearly hear the voice of your heart and intuition.

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Categories: Attitude, Thinking

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47 Responses so far.

  1. Julian says:

    All good stuff, but the number one thing for me is simply to breath slower and more deeply.

  2. Neena says:

    The theory sounds great, but putting this into practice is tough. We are always being pulled in every direction and it is hard to determine what is “nonessential”. One day, I will acheive mind like water but not in the near future!

  3. John Biddle says:

    “In fact, the term “mind like water” comes from GTD.” No, it actually originated from Bruce Lee’s book on Jeet Kune Do.

  4. Julian,
    A simple but good idea :)

    Neena,
    I agree, it’s not easy to put into practice, but it’s certainly achievable. I think the first step for most people is implementing GTD. Then we should learn to trust our heart and intuition.

    John,
    I didn’t know that. Most of what I read about “mind like water” is in GTD context. Thanks for letting me know.

  5. Sean says:

    Hrmm, not so sure about all this. I like the last few, but the first three don’t sound like good ideas at all, in fact they kinda remind me of the flawed thinking of president Bush. Having a clear and peaceful mind is very important for all, but I’m very skeptical of people advising me to reduce my use of rational thinking, its probably in fact my best tool for self-improvement and gaining inner peace.

  6. Thanks for this post, and telling about Albert Einsteins Quote, I really like a lot of Einsteins Quotes (and have a few of them on my blog) however the one you mentioned I didn’t yet know.

    You post is totally ‘HP’s Happy Blogspot-Approved’ :)

    Also very much in alignment with my (Friday June 22, 2007 ) post titled: ‘Logic is over raded’ you can find at:

    All the Best,
    HPvD.

  7. Stefan says:

    Don’t fool yourself!

    The advice is all wrong.

    You should always gather as much INFORMATION as you can. It will give you a better decision base when you use your RATIONAL to make decisions.

    Think about it. Use your mind (!). It’s the greatest tool you will ever own. You will realise, even ‘in your heart’, that your rational self is right. All you need to do is think. If you don’t already, learn to enjoy thinking. Think often, think deep, consider both sides of an argument – and come up with a third option. Be independent! Have integrity! Life is thinking, so enjoy it!!!

  8. Sean and Stefan,
    Rational thinking is important, and we do need it. But, in my opinion, rational thinking is overrated while listening to our heart and intuition is underrated. Most people emphasize too much on rational thinking while relatively neglect their heart and intuition. What we need is a balance of them all.

    I used to overrate rational thinking myself. Recently though, I learn to balance it with my heart and intuition. That means reducing (not eliminating) my attention to rational thinking and listening more to my heart and intuition. In my experience, it gives me better results with much less noise in my mind. “Mind like water” is indeed achievable.

    That being said, I realize that it might not work for everyone. That’s why I wrote “pick the ones that work for you” in the post. If some of these tips (or even all of them) do not work for you, you can just skip them.

    HP,
    You’re welcome! I’m also a fan of Einstein’s quotes; they give me great insights. It’s great to know that this post is in alignment with yours :)

  9. Pamela says:

    Nice post. This is very useful especially for those who always struggle for their time. We can make it better if we know how to use our time properly.

  10. […] Donald at Life Optimizer lists 11 sure-fire ways to have a calm and peaceful mind. There is one or two that I might not completely agree with, but that is another story. In total, is very much worth reading… […]

  11. Atheist says:

    The idea that the meek shall inherit the earth was designed to encourage people to be meek and thus stupid and thus easy to control. This is more of the same drivel. Stephen Colbert could read this verbatim and it would work. It is that easy of a self-parody.

  12. Alan says:

    These are all wonderful tips. I often struggle to have a peaceful mind, especially during stressful times. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  13. […] Today’s Happy web page is Peace of Mind – 11 Sure-Fire Ways to Have a Calm and Peaceful Mind (”Mind Like Water”) […]

  14. Pamela and Alan,
    Thanks! I’m glad you find this post useful.

    Atheist,
    I don’t think meek equals to stupid. I’m sure people can be meek and smart. But of course, this post can’t be for everyone. It might not be for you then.

  15. Hi Donald, I have been so busy doing that I forgot to come check out what you have been up to. These are great tips and essential to having a calm and peaceful mind.

    I wanted to especially comment on the first one. This counting on rational thinking is especially true in the male side of the equation as if there is no heart involved in decision making and it is true in business where profit is the driving force and numbers the rationale for everything. These are both examples of a lack of balance. Peace of mind in not possible in an unbalanced life.

    Joseph
    http://www.ExploreLifeBlog.com

  16. Hey Donald,

    Let me contribute 2 more ways:

    1) Listen to Soothing music – it always calm my nerves when I need it to.
    2) Soak yourself in a warm relaxing shower.

    Cheers
    James

    PS: Everyone is unique, look for the technique that will calm you.

  17. Joseph,

    These are both examples of a lack of balance. Peace of mind in not possible in an unbalanced life.

    I agree completely. Not that the numbers and rationale are bad, it’s just that we need to have a balanced life. Welcome back, Joseph :)

    James,
    Thanks for the ideas! I also agree that everyone is unique and that they should find the techniques that work for them.
    Just a note, I actually wrote this post with the perspective of “how to have a calm and peaceful mind the whole day”, and not “how to calm down or stay calm when we face problems”. That’s the difference between this post and the post ’26 Tips to Stay Calm When Situation Goes Bad’.

  18. I would add “spend more time thinking about things instead of doing things”

  19. I do agree that we busy ourselves with so much decision-making, so much analytical thinking, we often miss the roses. To be candid, I also believe that we need to recognize Jesus as someone who is willing to come into our lives an calm the storm. Though everything around me may appear to be crashing into the sea, there is rest in knowing the God who holds tomorrow in His hands. A loving God. The Prince of Peace. Anyway, I just can’t help but to say “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8 Thanks for the blog article.

  20. 11 Sure-Fire Ways,
    I believe that spirituality plays an important role in having a peaceful mind. Being a Christian myself, I agree with what you say. But people with different beliefs may have different opinions, and that’s fine. It is the essence that I’d like to emphasize here.

  21. […] Finally, Donald Latumahina of the Life Optimiser Blog reveals 11 Sure Fire Ways To Have A Calm And Peaceful Mind […]

  22. Jane says:

    Listen your heart and all be ok;)

  23. Jane,
    Listening to our heart alone is not enough of course, but it’s indeed a very important part.

  24. Douglas Woods says:

    A very useful article. I’m not sure about reading spiritual texts (unless you distinguish between spiritual and religious) but all these tips are well worthwhile. Thanks

  25. Thanks, Douglas!
    Here “spiritual” doesn’t necessarily mean “religious”. It’s something which deals with your spirituality and that may or may not be religious.

  26. […] Peace of Mind – 11 Sure-Fire Ways to Have a Calm and Peaceful Mind (”Mind Like Water”) […]

  27. […] Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Just doit. […]

  28. Charles Clarke says:

    Just found your blog and read a few interesting articles – thanks, but you really should know that the concept of “mind like water” does not come from GTD, it was around long before. May I respectfully point you towards the work of Alan Watts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Watts

  29. Interesting, Charles. Thanks for letting me know about it.

  30. […] First of is an old friend, Donald Latumahina from Life Optimizer. It is a classic personal development blog, solid practical material and a very easy to read style. One of my favourite articles there would have to be 11 ways to have a calm and peaceful mind. […]

  31. […] and gratitude that her “blended family” had made the effort and sacrifice to work together toward a common goal. She admitted that she was the instigator of most of the conflict and absolutely refused to […]

  32. […] 11 Sure Fire Ways to Have a Calm and Peaceful Mind @ Life Optimizer […]

  33. ..... says:

    Reduce rational thinking? What?
    It’s just how people misuse rational thinking that it matters, which hinders the ability to relax

  34. John says:

    Why rational thinking is that important?

    Yes, otherwise everyone will think they are superman or superwoman, without any rational reason

  35. anu says:

    hi my u r right in sumaspects. ur 11 ideas are gud but fact is that we human being have no control over this fact what we do for that

  36. GP says:

    I get it! This is clearly way to live in harmony, always. Thanks for the reminder!

  37. aryan says:

    i hope it helps me to get peace of mind. i’m very disturb . my mind always rules me but how can i recognize my heart’s voice

  38. gopinath.v says:

    Even i have read out these all things & my mind is not peaceful. Its searching something i hatred everythiing in this world. What i have to do in this world??? I couldn’t concentrate on anythings…

  39. Satya Ranganath says:

    Its really nice to gone through the 11 tips …… as few of our friends said even after reading this still they are not getting peace …….. what I suggets is just start with one tip out of the 11 you will be surely see the change…..

  40. ” Don’t think about other matters except on your goal.This is a best idea to have a peaceful mind ”

    *********** Lakkam Nandini.************

  41. s.joseph raj says:

    god can change our liife and keep the mind like water this help me lot to keep the mind peaceful

  42. Mark says:

    I agree what your saying about the rational thinking. Over doing it can really hurt us by clogging up our minds. I know a friend, a programmer, who lives his life by over rationalizing things. That can really shelter and cause problems to a human being. It’s like his soul is scrunched and he can’t seem to move forward in any kind of social situation.

  43. Kal says:

    This is far the most useful article about having peace of mind. I have read plenty on this topic but this one hits the bulls eye.

    As it goes for everything in life, there is no short cut. All these things have to be achieved by persisting, making them as habits until it becomes your nature.

    Music, Shower, Breathing are all good techniques to relax but they are not a cure to having a peaceful mind. They just put your disturbances, worries, complexes and distractions away for a few moments.

    For me the most important point here is to “Slow down”. It works wonders. If you can get this right, you have won half the battle.

    Cheers for Donald.

  44. Ashok says:

    what realy matter is after pampering so much whether you will be happy, if it is so than do it…
    according to me “The person or thing which really harassing you face it by only two step..
    1)take a deep breath…
    2)after that put a SMILE on face and Go for it.
    just be happy and let others be happy…
    I m sure you will feel better…

  45. suhang limbu says:

    I, agree..but eg of, mind and water, water is calm. im confuse.. water can change its shape in movement if its in thing like glass etc.

  46. Peter Juma says:

    i like peace