How To Turn Your Mind Off


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Is Mental Chatter Bad For You

Turn Your Mind Off & Stop Overthinking

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.

And If All Else Fails

The great era of tinkering with sleep aids was popular in early modern Europe. Here are a few of my favorites:

Put some blood-sucking leeches behind your ears. When they bore holes in the skin, pull them out and place a grain of opium in each hole.

Kill a sheep, and then press its steaming lungs on either side of the head. Keep the lungs in place as long as they remain warm.

After the evening meal, eat lettuce, drink wine, and rub an ointment made of the oil of violets or camphor on the temples. Dissolve a mixture of poppy seeds, lettuce seeds, balsam, saffron, and sugar and cook it in poppy juice. Then listen to pleasant music and lie down on a bed covered with the leaves of fresh, cool plants. Benjamin Reiss, author of Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World

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Its About Being Kind To Ourselves

I could sit at home in my pajamas with a cup of tea, living my best life, until I started thinking about what exciting experiences I might be missing out on.

However, after practicing mindfulness, Ive realized that I dont have to sit and wallow in my thoughts. I can switch out of thinking mode to being mode. I can turn my attention from repetitive and habitual negative chatter to truly being in the moment, enjoying each sip of my tea, guilt free, alone, and feeling blissful.

I feel so lucky to know that there are natural tools, like my breath, that can be used to distract and pull me out of my busy mind and into my bodys physical sensations and the exact experience of a moment.

Next time you feel overwhelmed with the noise inside, honor yourself and your mind by turning down that inner narration and giving yourself a small moment to be quiet and just be.

You can read more about mindfulness here and learn more practices, including the Three-Minute Breathing Space meditation.

Breathe In Essential Oils

Turn off the devices and turn on your mind.

For deeper relaxation during this posture, add one of these essential oils:

  • Lavender: This oil eases restlessness and agitation, treating insomnia and promoting deeper, longer sleep. Studies have shown lavender decreases heart rate and lowers blood pressure, which helps with relaxation and falling asleep.
  • Sandalwood: This oil has a soft, warm, soothing scent that eases sleep disturbances for people with colds or allergies.
  • Bergamot: This oil has a slightly spicy, floral, citrus-like fragrance that reduces psychological stress responses, lowers blood pressure, and lowers cortisol levels to promote better sleep.

You can dab essential oil on your wrists or palms or on the soles of your feet. You also can mix a few drops with water and spritz the mixture onto your pillow and sheets.

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Acquire Better Ways To Cope

Life can get tough, and dealing with tragic events or things that set us back from going forward can affect our lives emotionally and physically. Silence in meditation can help you manage challenging situations with grace.

Think of it as similar to becoming water. Like the legendary late Bruce Lee said, be water, my friend. Water moves, taking on different shapes, so too will you eventually learn to manage and cope with different situations.

Try Not To Stress About Not Being Able To Sleep

Being worried about not being able to fall asleep might be the reason you’re having sleep troublesbut try to focus on something else to help calm yourself down.

“One advantage of being a ‘sleep expert’ is that I know I will eventually get sleepy enough to fall asleep, so I don’t get too worked up about being awake at night on occasion,” Martin said. “Most importantly, I avoid getting upset about being awakeusually what’s on my mind is important.”

“It is rare for me to struggle to fall asleep, but when I do, I’ve grown to love it. What’s not to love?” said W. Chris Winter, MD, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine and author ofThe Sleep Solution. “I’m in a really comfortable place, it’s quiet, nobody is texting or calling me, no arguing children, no list of home repairs to deal with, just relaxing in the dark with my thoughts.” In other words, sometimes coming to terms with your sleeplessness in the moment may be beneficial until you can fall asleep.

But if you still find that you’re having difficulty falling asleep, you’ll want to talk to a healthcare professional to determine what the issue causing sleep difficulties might be.

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Stop It Brain 10 Tips For Taking Your Mind Off Of Work

When youre not on the clock, you need to hang your work hat outside and leave it there. But thats easier said than done. If youre plagued by thoughts about work when youre supposed to be enjoying your time off, consider trying some of these tactics for taking your mind off of work completely.

Recognize That You Are In Thinking Mode By Observing Your Thoughts Feelings And Physical Sensations

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Ask yourself: What thoughts are going through my mind?

What feelings do I notice? Do I feel uncomfortable? If so, just acknowledge these emotions, with no pressure to change anything right now.

Keep probing. Ask: What physical sensations do I feel in my body right now? Are my shoulders tense, am I experiencing muscle tightness or pain anywhere? Again, just acknowledge these sensations without taking any action.

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Stop Bracing Yourself And Embrace The Present Instead

Worrying can feel like a way to cover our bases, to find answers, to be responsible, or to keep that plane in the air. In reality, its wasted energy. If something bad does happen, worry didnt stop it. If it doesnt happen, worry only sucked any potential joy from the moment.

Even when we realize that our worries are pointlessand quite often irrationalits not so easy to turn them off. But its important that we try. Worry can release stresshormones that trigger health issues, such as digestive and cardiac disorders, and it can lead to depression. It can also be a trigger for substance abuse after all, drinks and pills seem to promise a quick way to blot worry from our minds, at least for the moment.

The next time you feel that sickening knot building inside you, try these strategies for flipping the worry switch to off”:

1. Live in the now.

Our lives feel as though they take a linear path, but in reality, everything that has ever happened to us or will happen to us occurs now. Appreciating that all we have is this moment can help us realize the pointlessness of worry, with its projection into a future that may never be.

2. Dont try to brace yourself for the bad stuff.

Bad things will come in life. Worrying about them wont stop them or better prepare you for them it will simply exhaust you. Rather than using your energy to anticipate problems, save it to deal with them when, and if, they come.

3. Give yourself permission not to worry.

5. Think positive.

Or Just Get Out Of Bed

If 20 minutes has gone by as the mind races and is unable to relax back to sleep, its best to get out of bed. Without looking at your phone or any other screen devices, go to another dimly lit room where you keep a notebook. Write down the thoughts that are keeping you awake. Finish with the words, It can wait until tomorrow. Then, go back to bed, focus on the breath, and mindfully relax into those words, giving yourself permission to yield to sleep. Jenni June, sleep consultant

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Why Do They Happen

Although some think racing thoughts occur only among people with anxiety disorders, this isnt necessarily the case. Again, given the right situation, stress may contribute to racing thoughts for anyone, even those who do not identify as anxious.

You may notice that racing thoughts and insomnia increase in times of high levels of stress. For example, these symptoms are common following a job loss, divorce, moving, or the death of a loved one. In addition, your thoughts may relate to everyday stressors like work, financial, relationship, and health concerns.

No matter the cause, these thoughts can be very disruptive. As a result, you may need to make some intentional changes to resolve them.

Worrying may seem like something that is beyond your control, but in fact, there are some things you can do to manage your worries before bed.

Slow Your Breath Slow Your Mind

One of the hardest things to do is turn off your mind from negativity ...

With your breath, you have a ready-made tool to relax your body and slow down the thoughts that keep you awake. Try this: Place a hand on your heart and feel its rhythm. Breathe in deep for 4 seconds, then take a long, slow breath out. Repeat this pattern until you can feel your heartbeat slow down. Your thoughts should soon ease up as well.

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Or Maybe Plan How Youll Get Some Sun In The Am

Getting more sun exposure in the midmorning can help readjust the brains internal clock and make it easier to fall asleep later that night. In my book, I write about how sun exposure is now a key part of many professional athletes travel schedules, and seen as a way of preventing jet lag. Non-athletes can do similar things. Someone who cant seem to fall asleep at night may want to try getting as much exposure to natural light in the morning, essentially prepping themselves to fall asleep when they want to. David K. Randall, author of Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

Tips To Help You Turn Off Your Mind So You Can Sleep

A good nights sleep is an essential part of your emotional and physical health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Good sleep keeps your stress levels down and helps keep your immune system strong.

With these holistic tools, you can help induce relaxation so you can get a better nights sleep.

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Write About What’s On Your Mind

One of our favorite pieces of advice to our readers is to write about whatever’s keeping you down.

Grab a piece of paper, write the date on top, and start writing down every negative thought that’s on your mind. Here are some of the benefits you’ll experience by doing this:

  • Writing down your issues forces you to actually confront them in a structured way.
  • It allows you to better deconstruct the issues without getting your thoughts distracted.
  • Writing something down can prevent it from causing chaos in your head. Think of this as clearing the RAM memory of your computer. If youve written it down, you can safely forget about it and start with an empty slate.
  • It allows you to look back at your struggles objectively. In a few months’ time, you can look back at your notepad and see how much youve grown.

Try To Question Whatever Thought Is On Your Mind

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Questioning your own thoughts might sound a little crazy. However, not all of our thoughts are helpful, so taking your internal monologue with a healthy dose of doubt is perfectly reasonable. In fact, one of the best questions to ask when you find yourself ruminating is: Is this thought helpful?

If it isnt, why should you keep repeating it?

Other helpful questions include:

  • What proof do I have that this thought is true or false?
  • If my friend were in the same situation and thought the same way, what would I say to them?
  • What are some alternative explanations for this situation?
  • Will this matter one day from now? What about in one week, or a month?

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How To Stop The Spiraling

Seventy-nine percent of you have commiserated with girlfriends about being hard up for shut-eye, but only a quarter have gone to a doc about it. Seeing a psychologist or sleep therapist can make a profound difference, as research shows cognitive behavioral therapy is even more effective than medication for helping you falland stayasleep. How to self-soothe in the moment? When you’re wide awake and panicking about your debt or something your boss said, repeat this: “There’s nothing I can do about it in the middle of the night. I’ll make a solid plan in the morning.”

Don’t Talk About Your Problems

It can be particularly easy for people who work with a significant other to bring work issues home. If that’s you, and you’re feeling unbalanced, it can help to set rules about how much talking about work can be done at home. Though debriefing during dinner can be OK, talking about work problems reactivates the negative emotions associated with them. “It’s actually serving to throw that person straight back into the same neurological state that they were in all day,” he says.

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Put Off Paying The Bills

Stressful subjects, like work or your finances, can make your thoughts churn. Take care of the bills and emails tomorrow. Also, turn off scary or action-filled movies and TV — even the news. Log out of social media, too. Whether you engage in, or just watch or read a heated back-and-forth, your mind revs up and makes it harder to relax.

Make Your Bedroom A No

Turn off your mind open your heart

Your phone, tablet, and other screens can mess with your sleep. The reason? They give off blue light, which signals your body to stop making melatonin, the hormone that controls when you feel sleepy. Instead, this light tells your brain to stay alert. Not to mention the late-night dings and buzzes that can jolt you out of peaceful slumber. The best bet for better sleep is to keep computers, TVs, and, yes, your phone out of your bedroom.

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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:

  • repeating to themselves that this worst-case scenario is not going to happen
  • considering how likely it is that the worst-case will happen
  • thinking about more desirable alternatives that could occur
  • 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.

    Set Up A Worry Time Before Bed

    Heres a way to stop your mind from repetitively listing all the things you need to do , but it only works if you do it before you hit the sack.

    Dont worry in bed. Schedule a worry time a period of time outside of the bedroom, outside of sleep, to worry about the things that naturally creep in your mind at night, said sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

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