A common side effect of an anxious or stressful time in your life is the experience of racing thoughts which are characterised as short, repetitive, and somewhat quick moving. While these characteristics are typical of people who suffer from one of the common forms of anxiety disorders, they can also simply signify a heightened time of stress in a person’s life.
Having a racing mind can cause a lot of unwanted side effects. For example, people who are experiencing racing thoughts may have trouble falling asleep. A racing mind is hard to settle, and it can keep you up at night. This can also cause you to be distracted during the day which can be an issue for the working individual.
There are some strategies that can be effective for calming a restless mind. These strategies are rumored to help people reduce stress and anxiety that accompanies a racing mind.
Reframe Your Mind
A lot of worries stem from unrealistic ideas that our brain focuses upon. However, these concerns feel very real because our brain is used to computing all potential aspects of a situation. Plus, studies have shown that our body doesn't know the difference between 'real' or 'imagined' situations. So, use your imagination for your benefit and shift your focus to positive or more pleasant thoughts.
For example, if you are a nervous flyer, instead of thinking about all the things that could go wrong (and living that reality in your head) try shifting those thoughts to all the could go right, all the fun you will have at your destination and the adventure you are undertaking.
Meditation is a great way to train your brain to block out all of that negative energy that comes along with a racing mind. While meditation may seem like an overwhelming concept, it can actually be quite simple. It is as simple as finding a comfortable, quiet space to concentrate on quietness and stillness where you can focus on your breathing.
As an alternative, many people have begun a less formal practice of meditation known as mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your thoughts on one positive concept or one mantra that you adopt. Mindfulness can be practiced within the routine of your normal day (like on your morning drive) and there are apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone to make it easier to learn how to practice it.
Let Go of Regret
Letting go of the past might seem like a concept that is easier said than done. However, the past can be a huge cause for anxiety and stress in many individuals who experience racing thoughts. Focusing on the present forces your brain to only concentrate on events that can actually be influenced.
The truth of the matter is that the past is the past. It is behind you. No matter how long your brain worries about events of the past, they are never going to be changed. Focusing instead on your present allows you to live the moment and possibly influece where you are going in the future.
Finding inner peace is a practice. It takes being self-aware of when your mind is racing, the practiced habit of shifting your focus (though some of the methods discussed previously), and kindness with yourself as you work towards mastery.
Until next time, many blessings and much peace! xo