Strategies To Calm The Obsessive Mind
- Meditation is a great way to calm the mind. Find a quiet spot to meditate and just focus on your breath. It can cause your mind to stop thinking. Even if there are noise and commotion try and focus on an object and breath.
- Staying present and in the moment. This has helped me a great deal. Try focusing on the present moment in anything you do. If your mind starts to drift into old habits, become aware of this, and refocus on the present moment. For example, stay in the moment by doing a simple task like washing the dishes.
- Exercise is a great way to stay present. Try going for a run, a bike ride or try yoga. Focus on the activity, not your mind.
- Nature has many mind-calming qualities. I find that just going for a walk in the woods and observing what is around me is calming. Try noticing the trees, the air, or flowers. Sit and watch a bird or a squirrel going about their day.
- In life, things come and go. Nothing stays the same forever. I like routines and have learned that sometimes you have to go with the flow. Just like the thoughts in your head they come and go. I try and remind myself I am not my mind. These thoughts will soon pass.
Ways To Stop Overthinking Everything
Whether theyre beating themselves up over a mistake they made yesterday, or they’re fretting about how theyre going to succeed tomorrow, over-thinkers are plagued by distressing thoughts. Their inability to get out of their own heads leaves them in a state of constant anguish.
While everyone over-thinks things once in a while, some people just cant ever seem to quiet the constant barrage of thoughts. Their inner monologue includes two destructive thought patterns — ruminating and worrying.
Ruminating involves rehashing the past. Thoughts may include things like:
– I shouldnt have spoken up in the meeting today. Everyone looked at me like I was an idiot.
– I could have stuck it out at my old job. I would be happier if I would have just stayed there.
– My parents always said I wouldnt amount to anything. And they were right.
Worrying involves negative–often catastrophic–predictions about the future. They may think things like:
– Im going to embarrass myself tomorrow when I give that presentation. My hands will shake, my face will turn red, and everyone will see that Im incompetent.
– Ill never get promoted. It doesnt matter what I do. Its not going to happen.
– My spouse is going to find someone better than I am. Im going to end up divorced and alone.
The Dangers Of Overthinking
Thinking too much about things isnt just a nuisance. It can take a serious toll on your well-being.
How To Stop Overthinking
1. Notice When Youre Thinking Too Much
How To Stop Thinking About Work Stuff
After a long day of juggling responsibilities, we all need time to recover when weâre finally off the clock.
Switching off from work means allowing yourself an adequate amount of time for psychological recovery after long workdays, whether youâre spending those days collaborating remotely or commuting to the office. Studies have shown that when we donât have this time to relax or recover, our health and wellbeing can be affected.
Stress from not taking this very necessary time for ourselves can slow the healing of wounds, accelerate ageing and is linked to physical and psychological issues ranging from headaches to depression. Read on for some tactics to free your mind from the constant stream of thoughts about work:
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How To Stop Thinking About Something
Change The Way You Look At Your Situation
If you cant change your situation, change the way you look at it. Another word for that is reframing. No matter what happens to you from day to day, how you perceive it and react to it will determine your future more than what actually happens.
And your response to each experience will either help your personal growth or hinder it.
For example, if youre worried that an imminent snowstorm will make it impossible to drive to pick your daughter up from work, you might tense up as you picture trying to get your car out of your driveway or down the road. You imagine your car sliding off the road or crashing into something.
Or, knowing that the storm is coming, you could take action to prepare for it:
- Stock your car with road salt, a small shovel, a flashlight, a utility tool, snacks, etc.
- Let your daughter know you may be late.
- Ensure you have the number for roadside assistance if necessary.
You then picture yourself driving to your daughters workplace slowly, carefully, and without incident picking her up, and getting her home. You know if something happens, you can now respond calmly and safely.
Those negative what if scenarios no longer have any power over you. Youve essentially turned a potential threat into a chance to improve your preparedness.
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Channel Your Inner Yogi
Many people say yoga helps them sleep better. Try âchildâs poseâ at bedtime. Kneel on the floor with your big toes together. Separate your knees the width of your hips, and sink your chest to your thighs. Let your forehead touch the ground. Have hip or knee issues? Try âcorpse poseâ instead. Lie on your back, legs apart and arms relaxed at your sides. Exhale and feel yourself sink into the ground. Stay in either pose for 3-5 minutes.
Try Not To Try So Hard
Try not to struggle or try harder to overcome the sleeplessness or get rid of unwanted thoughts, as this can worsen insomnia. One successful approach to overcome this negative cycle is to instead learn to observe and accept these struggles, using mindfulness strategies to help. Jenny Stephenson, director of HappySleepers
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Why Are Thoughts A Problem In The First Place
When you are thinking, are your thoughts of the past or the future, or only about the present moment?
You can try this simple exercise to find out. Sit with your eyes closed and imagine you have 3 baskets, one to the left labeled past, one to the right labeled future, and one in front of you labeled present. Continue to sit and let your thoughts flow without trying to control them. As thoughts come up, mentally place each one in the appropriate basket. After a few minutes, you will see that most thoughts are about the past or the future.
Too often we are stuck in the past or the future. These thoughts replay in our minds like a broken record. This kind of thinking drains our energy.
Its not that there’s anything wrong with thinking in and of itself. But when invasive thoughts stress you out and distract you from the present moment, then it can start to be a problem. The solution isnt to never have a thought again, but rather to be more in the present moment and engaged with what is happening around you.
Being mindful and present results in less thinking!
The good news is that since we were all once children, we are capable of returning to that natural state. We just need to practice using a few tools to retrain ourselves and we too can naturally be in the present moment, with fewer thoughts!
Here are four ways to help you have fewer unwanted thoughts while having the awareness of whats happening now.
Differentiate Between Ruminating And Problem
Feeling down or thinking about unpleasant things isn’t always bad. Sometimes, it’s part of the healing process. And sometimes, you can turn those thoughts and feelings into something more productive.
But it’s important to differentiate between ruminating and problem-solving.
If you’re behind on your bills, thinking about how to get caught up can be helpful. But imagining yourself homeless or thinking about how unfair it is that you got behind isn’t productive.
So ask yourself, “Am I ruminating or problem-solving?”
If you’re dwelling on the problem, you’re ruminating. If you’re actively looking for solutions, you’re problem-solving.
Problem-solving can help you move forward. But ruminating will hold you back. If you’re ruminating, you need to change the channel.
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Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
As you lie in bed, tense and relax all of your muscles one by one, starting at your toes and ending at your head. Not only is this incredibly relaxing, as the name implies, but it also forces you to think about the physical parts of your body, directing your attention away from whatever thoughts or stressors youre fixating on, Breus says.
How To Tame Your Inner Voice
Theres no magic bullet that will quell chatter when it bubbles up every time, Kross says. But, there are straightforward actions you can take to mitigate the phenomenon.
One of the reasons why chatter feels so bad is it’s all-consuming and you feel trapped, Kross explains. You’re not in control and just zooming out to recognize that, as bad as it is, you’re gonna feel better tomorrow or next week. That gives hope, which is really powerful.
Every individual can develop a personal cocktail of tools, Kross adds. For anyone feeling stuck in a negative thought loop, Kross recommends trying the following evidence-based tricks:
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What Is Brain Chatter
A lot of the time, our inner voice serves us well we can work through a problem and move on, Ethan Kross tells Inverse. If we find that we access that inner voice and we start getting stuck, it turns into chatter.
Kross is a psychologist and a professor at the University of Michigan who studies emotions and self-control. He is also the author of Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It.
Chatter, Kross explains, arises most often when you find yourself perseverating on a problem. You can’t stop thinking about a problem and the way you’re thinking about it isn’t improving the way that you actually feel and doesn’t allow you to move on with your life, Kross says.
Common and maddening, chatter isnt unstoppable. Kross has discovered simple techniques that can help you master your inner voice and keep chatter at bay.
Watch Out For People Places And Things
Along with the social media, you probably want to get rid of anything that reminds you of them in general, like souvenirs or mementos from your relationship. According to Page, people in Alcoholics Anonymous are told to watch out for people, places, and things that make them want to drink. “If you’re trying to let go of someone, you need to watch out for the people, places, and things that trigger your craving for that person.”
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How Mind Chattering Blocks Your Goals
Our life, and the majority of people, are controlled by this monkey brain.
And when the chattering takes control of your life, you can expect it to go to places you wont expect.
You end up watching cat videos when you consciously choose to focus on your work.
In more harmful situations, the angry chattering mind can make you throw everything on the floor when angered and make you drive in the night without even knowing why.
When the monkey brain controls you, it is nearly impossible to be in the present and enjoy anything.
But when you control this internal dialogue, not only will the monkey in your head stop but he will help you achieve anything you set your mind to.
Try To Stay Awake Instead
Thinking about sleep and wishing for it to happen is a recipe for staying awake. This is where paradoxical thinking comes in. If you give yourself the paradoxical instruction to stay awake instead, youll be more likely to fall asleep. If you can be comfortable with the idea of remaining awake, then the performance anxiety and frustration that are associated with trying to sleep have nowhere to go and your arousal level drops. Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford
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Is Mental Chatter Bad For You
On any given day, people have approximately 6,000 individual thoughts. This human ability to introspect is a crucial evolutionary advantage, enabling people to process complex information, better store memories, and make split-second decisions.
Our minds evolved to travel in time to be able to reflect on the past or anticipate the future, Kross says. The ability to do that flexibly is a remarkable asset of the human condition.
These thought patterns make up what some people, including Kross, call the inner voice.
This silent internal dialogue is vitally important to our ability to problem solve, cultivate a sense of self, and understand our place in the world. But our inner coach can become our inner critic. This toxicity is perhaps most apparent in situations where we find ourselves up at 2:00 am ruminating on an awkward run-in, for example, or unable to focus on the task at hand because were mulling over a life decision.
You’re worrying, you’re ruminating, you’re catastrophizing, and the key is you really are turning a problem over and over and over, Kross explains. But you’re not making any progress towards solving it.
Chronic and persistent chatter also known as repetitive negative thinking has been linked to anxiety and depression, as well as the tendency to experience unwanted intrusive thoughts or have low levels of mindfulness.
Chatter consumes our attention, Kross says, making it difficult to think and perform.
Ways To Shut Off Your Mind When You Cannot Sleep
At one point or another, most people have experienced the following scenario at least once in their lives – you try to go to sleep, but no matter how tired you are, your mind just wont shut off, and you end up lying awake in bed with your thoughts racing at 100 miles per hour.
To most people, sleepless nights are something to be avoided at all costs. The feeling of having your mind racing with thoughts, unable to shut it off, can cause stress and anxiety during the day and make you irritable towards others and difficult to live with. Here are some tips on how to shut off your mind when you cannot sleep so that you can get the rest that you need and feel relaxed and refreshed in the morning.
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Reclaim Your Own Gifts And Talents
Oftentimes when people become obsessive over someone, there’s a tendency to abandon oneself. This can look like being overly nice or explanatory to avoid rejection, feelings of inadequacy, and giving someone far too much influence over your emotional state. But Page notes reclaiming our own individuality, or the “gifts deep inside us that we have looked to the world to validate,” is a “powerful process of healing and transformation that actually changes our attractions.”
Think About Other Options
Racing thoughts often end up in a worst-case scenario, and it can be easy for someone to build up a sense of disaster.
This can lead to a vicious cycle of more anxiety and continued racing thoughts.
A person can try to counter this by:
Instead of, Ill get fired for that mistake, change the thought to, Everyone makes mistakes, and Ill do what I can to make it right.
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Your Brain Wont Let You Sleep 11 Ways To Shut Your Brain Off For Better Sleep
Your racing mind cant let you sleep at night? Do you keep awake wondering about everything and nothing? Whether its going to sleep fast or getting the required hours of sleep, anything that disrupts your sleep , can be a major issue.
While insomnia can be a serious problem, racing thoughts at night can pose even more serious problems. In a 2021 study, it was found that racing thoughts at night can cause sleep problems in insomnia sufferers. These kinds of racing thoughts were also different from rumination, the study further noted.
Did you know that theres a reason your overactive mind cant let you sleep? Whether you learned something new today, explored a city, or just did your routine activities your brain is constantly collecting information. Its not until your bedtime that you get some quiet time and its during those hours that all the information that your brain collected comes crashing down .
Whether youre overexcited, anxious, stressed, or just replaying your day in your mind any thought obstructing your sleep can be potentially harmful to your health in the long run.
Below, Ive listed some ways to shut your brain off and get the sleep of your dreams