Everyone has a chaotic mind from time to time. And sometimes the chaos is so severe that it impacts your productivity. I’ve put together a list of 5 creative ways to calm a chaotic mind so you can get more done.

1. Keep the Brain Busy
There’s a delicate balance between keeping your mind busy without overcrowding it. It’s one thing to occupy your mind so it doesn’t wander, but it’s a whole different ball game when you start stressing out about endless to-do lists and information overload. Try to write 3-5 things you want to accomplish every day — and be sure to add at least one thing that is purely for fun. This will keep your mind busy without getting you too stressed.

2. Deep breathing and/or guided meditation
Meditation is arguably THE number one technique for calming the chaos in your head, as well as reducing stress and anxiety levels. But many people are not great at meditating, particularly if the starting point is chaos.

I highly recommend using a guided meditation that includes deep breathing exercises. These are types of meditation that will help you learn how to use deep breathing techniques effectively. Deep breathing is the body’s way of reducing the feelings of stress that often come with a chaotic mind. There are many online versions of guided meditation so sign up for the 7-day free trials that are frequently offered. There are also several variations on YouTube.

3. Exposure to Nature
Some people swear by “nature hikes” as a way to calm your mind and improve your mood. Wandering nature hikes are not always possible so I suggest using some form of outdoor activity to get outside and enjoy the view of nature.

For example, a place to relax and watch the sunset is one of my favorite ways to chill out. Going for a drive or walk around the treed neighborhood can also bring calm. Kicking a soccer ball around or having a game of pickup softball with buddies is another way to get outside, especially on short notice.

4. Help Others
When was the last time you extended a helping hand to someone who needs it? Our brains tend to calm down when we’re in “helper mode” because the focus is on others rather than our own problems or stresses.

5. Connect with Others
Helping others and connecting with other people are two totally different things, but both are essential aspects of cultivating an active, healthy mind. As humans, we need socialization. We thrive when we are part of a tribe. We crave human interaction time, so get out there and get social! Every laugh and bit of chatter will feed your mind in countless ways. Call a friend and have lunch in the park. It doesn’t have to be a big production, since the goal is simple human connection.

Perhaps not all of these ideas fit for you or your lifestyle. That’s fine. Just pick one of them and give it a shot.

Chaotic thinking leaves us vulnerable to mishaps and costly errors. We can lose time, money, and energy so it pays to take even a few minutes every day to implement some creative techniques for calming your chaos.