Every day I take my bike to work and recently I noticed that I am not fully present when I go to work. And not much later I realized I do a lot of things on automatic pilot. I have so many thoughts on a daily basis that I am not really living. I am basically just surviving. That is the reason why I wanted to change my life and start living again. If you have the same problem and you are constantly in your head, these are 9 ways to stop your racing thoughts.
9 ways to stop your racing thoughts
1. Give meditation a chance
A way to calm your mind and stop your racing thoughts is to sit still and just breathe. Meditation is really great for a lot of things. Yes, it can be hard if you are a beginner but just keep trying every single day and start with 5-15 minutes every day. Even 10 minutes of meditation can have a huge impact. So it is definitely worth it.
2. Maybe it is time for a brain dump
If everything becomes overwhelming, sit down and grab a pen and piece of paper. Write every single thought down. Write down your grocery list or make a to-do list with what you really have to do. This will make your mind feel calm again. And according to Eckhart Tolle, from the book ‘power of now’ is it good to be an observer of your thoughts. Just observe the thoughts you get, don’t judge, and let them go.
3. Go outside
Nature can heal you, so go to the beach or the forest and just spend some time in nature. Walking in nature is also really good for you. It will calm your mind and your mind will also release good chemicals into your body like endorphins. Another side effect I noticed when I go outside for a walk, is that I become more creative. If I have a ‘problem’ and I don’t know how to deal with it, I go outside. First, my mind will calm down and suddenly there is space for other things and I find the solution to the problem.
4. Distract yourself with a book or movie
I am not saying it is the best way to stop your racing thoughts, but it is definitely one of the ways. But when you are watching 4 movies a day to escape the real world and your thoughts, then you are avoiding it. I think it is better to face it (with meditation etc). But sometimes I use this technique too. I prefer to pick a book because that really pushes me to be focused. And suddenly my thoughts are disappearing.
5. Put focus music on
Sometimes all you need is music or nature sounds. I love to combine this with e meditation, reading a book, or sometimes I even use it while I am working. It can help me to focus. You can find tons of videos on YouTube with focus music from beach sounds to forest sounds. This video is probably one of my favorites.
6. Take care of your body
Get out of your head by taking care of your body. The best way to do this is of course exercising. So start exercising whether this is a full-body workout or a yoga work-out, it doesn’t matter as long you are moving your body. And of course, other ways of taking care of your body are important too. Organize a spa night, just for yourself or with friends.
7. Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness sounds like the opposite of calming your mind. I mean, you don’t want to have a full mind. But mindfulness is actually something that can help you. When you practice mindfulness, you are paying attention to the present moment. For example when you are brushing your teeth or cooking a meal. Just focus on one task only and if you get a thought, observe it, let it go, and focus on your task again. The good thing you can practice this the whole day. You can do this at work, home, at the supermarket.. Use your senses: what do you smell, hear, see, etc.
8. Turn off technology
Every time when I spend too much time online, I feel not so great and I tend to start overthinking everything. So I try to spend less time online during the day. I set times when I can look on my phone to see if I got any messages. But that is it. If I spend too much time online I can feel overwhelmed by everything. There is so much information you can find online but sometimes your brain just wants to rest for a while. So take breaks from your phone. Your mind/brain will be happier.
9. Thought are just thoughts
Know that thoughts are just thoughts. That sounds a little bit strange maybe. But it is true. When you think ‘you are not good enough’, you just have to know that this thought is not true. It is just a thought. See it as something separate from you. It is your ego that is talking to you. And when you realize that they are just really thoughts and nothing, your thoughts will lose power over you and you will get fewer thoughts. If you spend too much time thinking about one mistake, you will make it worse. If you can let go of the thought, it has no power over you anymore and you make that voice in your head weaker.