6 Strategies to Quiet Your Mind When Your Thoughts Are Racing
June 5, 2019
Racing thoughts can be frustrating. Whether they’re not letting you get to sleep, distracting your focus, or taking away from your positivity, they’re pesky. However, because most people suffer from a racing mind every now and again, you can find plenty of tips on how to deal with them. Here are six tips that you can use whenever your brain needs some smoothing out.
Get Physically Comfortable
It’s easier to control your physical surroundings than your emotional state. So let’s start there! Get your body into a comfortable position, close your eyes, relax your shoulders, massage your cheek muscles. You might be the type of person who likes to sit cross-legged with wrists resting on their knees. It’s the classic meditative state pose. However, many are more comfortable sitting in a chair instead, or lying on their back or side. See what works for you, but start by getting into a comfortable place.
Focus on Deep Breathing
Deep, slow, rhythmic breathing is incredibly relaxing. Focusing on something so comforting helps quiet the mind, because the concentration takes up the space where racing thoughts can thrive. Consider breathing in through the nostrils and out through the mouth. The alternation is profoundly therapeutic.
Don’t Get Frustrated. You Can’t Help It!
Getting annoyed by your wandering mind is counterproductive. All it does is increase stress, which makes your mind race even more. Consider letting your thoughts take you along for the ride. Process them, let them go, then move on to the next one. You’ll be amazed by how much your mind starts to slow down when you start ticking off your mental checklist.
You should also doubt your thoughts. What exactly is the concern, and is it possible that it’s just your interpretation rather than the truth? Often, uneasy feelings can occur from a place of cognitive dissonance rather than logic and reason. Are you worried about the worst-case scenario? Then you’re being unduly paranoid.
Consider Everything That You Love in Life
Positive thoughts can outweigh negative thoughts. Even if you’re racing mind isn’t necessarily focused on “negative” things, you’re likely not thinking about things that make you happy. Who stays up all night thinking about what they desire, how much they love their family, what they could do for their next vacation? The thoughts that haunt you can be replaced by those that make you excited for life.
Let It Out Through Words or Actions
Write down your thoughts as they occur. On your computer or pen and paper, this is often a great way to contextualize and conceptualize what you’re thinking. It also feels good to get it all out. Once you’ve written things down, you could hold onto them for further development or simply scrap them. The latter may be particularly beneficial, since it feels like you’re literally throwing your negative thoughts away.
Another strategy is to exercise. A racing mind can bubble up from stressors that can be eased (or even eliminated) by getting in a workout. Some squat thrusts in the middle of the night aren’t going to hurt how quickly you get to sleep! But exercise is a better form of prevention than it is an immediate remedy. And if you find your brain racing even after exercising that day, consider increasing your workout intensity.
It’s tough just to sit down and meditate if you’ve never done it before. The first time you do it, it won’t be as effective as the tenth time. By the hundredth, you’ll be a pro. But what does meditation exactly entail? Tons of people have probably recommended it to you – and each person likely had their own strategies and advice.
So, instead of being one of those people and recommending anything too specific, we think this might be as simple as adding the practice to your daily routine. Imagine it like you’re just starting to exercise for the first time. Take it slow, keep it low pressure, and take in as much advice as you can find online. It won’t be long before you’ve developed a strategy that works for you. Once you’re comfortable meditating, it’s highly likely that your mind racing will become a rarity.