I just heard it in an IELTs preparation video on youtube and googled it for definition but couldn't find any. Does "to get (one's) thoughts centered" mean to relax? or perhaps if somebody is distracted by a whole lot of things to think about and have scattered thoughts and ideas in his or her mind and then he or she finds a way to focus on one of them or the common ones. Would anyone kindly explain it to me? Also tell me if it is an idiom. Thanks.

Regards, Aamir the Global Citizen

  • Hard to be sure without watching the video. But if your thoughts are centered, generally that means that they are balanced, well-organized, coherent. As you note, focused instead of scattered. I don't think relaxation has anything to do with it. It's certainly idiomatic. I most often hear it as "John is centered" instead of John's thoughts. – deadrat Mar 15 '17 at 6:46
  • Ok, here is the link to the video. youtube.com/watch?v=xajnJJ76S94 Whatch from 6:42 to 7:00 – Aamir the Global Citizen Mar 15 '17 at 7:48
  • It's a sample IELTs speaking test in which the examiner is interviewing a Canadian native speaker who is appearing for the test. And this is the conversation between the two where I took that expression. Examiner: Have you heard any good suggestions about what to do for relaxing? Interviewee: Some of my friends give me good advice about sort of stretching exercises. It really helps to decompress at the end of the day. With just get your thoughts centered and relaxing. – Aamir the Global Citizen Mar 15 '17 at 7:53
  • Yes, indeed. She does talk about relaxing. This is an interview, though a practice one. That means it's artificial, in the sense that the person being tested is aware that she's being judged. Her answers are banal and cliched, basically empty banter. A brief search on the google finds "center your thoughts" to mean bring focus to your thoughts. – deadrat Mar 15 '17 at 8:11
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    Yes, 'to focus on the important matters rather than distractions'. The fairly low number of Google hits for "get my thoughts centered" argues against the expression being 'idiomatic', but it's acceptable enough. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 15 '17 at 11:14

Centering your thoughts is a term from meditation.

Centering is the goal or act of meditation. As we live our lives, we often find ourselves blown from place to place, subject to things that we have no control over. Using meditation centering techniques is one way that we can take control, find the power within ourselves ... - Meditation Centering

A similar term is grounding yourself.

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