When your mind is holding you captive with racing thoughts
You're laying in bed, mind racing. Thoughts about the day are racing tirelessly in your mind. Did you complete everything you needed to? Did you say something wrong to someone unknowingly? Have you planned effectively for tomorrow? Your racing thoughts lead to restlessness and next... anxiety. This spiral of anxiety feels nearly impossible to control so your left awake, or at best, twilight sleeping, for hours. You get more and more sleep deprived which only causes those racing thoughts to continue with a vengeance. Your mind racing, you lose control and the racing thoughts only continue to spin out of your reach.
Now, let's look at an example of regaining control of our thoughts- finding peace again
You're laying in bed, mind at peace. You calmly recap the day and contemplate tomorrow. You think, did I complete everything for the day?... YES! I got to check off my to-do list and moved what couldn't be done to tomorrow! You wonder if you said anything wrong to someone... if so you know you have established meaningful relationships that even if you did, most likely the other person didn't even notice. (Notice there is no racing mind yet) You ponder if you planned effectively for tomorrow? YES! You have established systems, such as list making, to set the foundation for the next day. Regardless if everything is perfectly planned, without needing to having racing tasks running through your head. Your racing thoughts are absent and you peacefully fall asleep. You wake up rested and ready to conquer a new day! No racing thoughts, no racing heart rate, no racing calamity. Instead, the result is calmness.
Doesn't the second scenario sound so much better?
I have found myself in the first scenario for years... many years in fact. There seemed to be no trick left to try. Eventually, my husband led me to many of the items below that, in combination, have been detrimental to decreasing those racing thoughts. Sometimes just saying to yourself, "stop thinking and just go to sleep," doesn't work and we need to love ourselves enough to solve an anxiety driven issue. I am thrilled to say that I have been able to (at least most nights) practice many of the methods below consistently, and my anxiety and racing thoughts have nearly diminished. We all will face racing thoughts and anxiety at one point, which sometimes can be a great motivator to be productive, but the beauty with the tips below is they establish systems to stop un-needed anxiety and maintain a calm mind. This can reduce racing thoughts tremendously!
Life is about #balance. Most of us live incredibly cluttered and fast-paced lives, driven by the need to be #productive , #accomplished , and forever moving #forward . We work work work and even work to our max. But when was the last time you gave yourself to truly do nothing? Alan Cohen once said “There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” Today, take a time-out ^^ #alancohen #work #donothing photo by H.S.LEE
What are the possible symptoms?
Anxiety Symptoms: constant worry that interferes with daily life, avoiding social situations, possible panic attacks, irrational fear or avoidance, recurring nightmares or flashbacks, racing thoughts (according to adda.org) Depression Symptoms: Discouragement, sadness, hopelessness, lack of motivation, fatigue, weight loss or weight gain, emotional eating, disinterest, irritability, anger, reckless behavior or thoughts, and anxiety (according to adaa.org) OCD Symptoms: unwanted and intrusive thoughts, a noticeable obsessive thought or action, irrational thoughts, seeming senseless rituals, need for cleanliness or arranging (according to adaa.org) Bipolar Disorder Symptoms: extreme mood changes, sleep changes, activity changes, extremely happy or sad, sudden increase or decrease in energy levels, racing thoughts or forgetfulness (according to nimh.nih.gov)
You can overcome your racing thoughts! Sometimes medication is needed but a natural approach first can avoid complications from medication use. The ten tips below are to help you conquer your anxiety and take control of your racing mind again! We all deserve peace, and what better way to start than within yourself! Finally, find ways to take control of your racing thoughts and live!
1. From Racing Thoughts to Controlling Your Focus
This one may take a lot of practice. I kind of stumbled upon this once while trying to go to sleep and it worked! An example would be to take one thought you have racing, one that doesn't cause you anxiety. Next, think about that thought, or maybe two thoughts, until your mind is exhausted. As long as these thoughts don't lead to more racing thoughts or lead to anxiety, you will be left mentally unable to anxiously contemplate anything else. Think about it as controlling your obsessive thoughts. While this will not be for everyone, it can be a smart solution to practice when you are stuck awake with thoughts racing through your mind.
2. Make Lists
a sunday well spent brings a week of content ☝🏼 .. alle Termine und TO-DO‘s sind nun in meinem #weeklyplanner festgehalten und die neue Woche kann beginnen - ich liebe es alles ganz altmodisch in meinen Planer zu schreiben ✍🏼 wie sieht es bei euch aus - nutzt ihr euer Handy als Kalender oder seid ihr auch wie ich eher oldschool unterwegs? 🙊 .. ich mache es mir jetzt mit meinem Schatz gemütlich und wir schauen uns eine Folge #gameofthrones an (ja, nach 100 Jahren sind wir auch mal auf die Idee gekommen, ich weiß aber noch nicht ob mir die Serie wirklich gefällt 😄 // wer von euch hat sie auch schon geschaut ?) .. ich wünsche euch jetzt noch einen entspannten Sonntag Abend - macht‘s euch fein 💗 [Werbung, wegen Verlinkung der Marken / Produkte - alles selbst gekauft] #flatlaytoday #considercologneweeklyplanner #aufdempapieristausdemkopf #listenfreak #todolists #tealover #gingertea #odernichtoderdoch #stempel #blogger_de #germanblogger #rose #interiordesign
Making lists can be a fun way to let your mind take a break and decrease those racing thoughts. An example of this would be jotting down all your "need to accomplish" tasks for tomorrow. Often we think about what we need to do because we worry we will forget them, causing excess anxiety. If we can get in the habit of documenting those tasks we allow our minds less time to be worried. This can lead to nights becoming more peaceful. Below are some examples of lists you can make... -Make lists for what you need to accomplish that day when you wake up. -Make lists for what you need to accomplish the next day so you can go to sleep knowing you have a plan for tomorrow. -Make monthly recurring check-lists (cleaning, meals, groceries, bills etc...) -Make a brain dump page for everything important you need to remember! You can make these lists creative and fun in order to reduce your anxiety about everything you need to do, leaving more time for effective productivity, useful thoughts, as well as rest.
3. Practice Yoga and/or Meditation
What better way to slow down your racing thoughts than to practice actually doing so! Yoga is not only amazing for mental calmness but it is also a great workout to lengthen and tone your muscles. There are many different types of yoga to choose from such as yoga flow, weight and cardio yoga, hot yoga and Bikram yoga. It is not a one size fits all. Just like with diet and exercise plans, you get to choose what is best for your body. You also can have the freedom of choosing the location to be in your home or at a studio. At home, you can avoid the driving and money and simply take as much time as you need. Watch videos on Youtube or subscribe to yoga classes online. You can also use your gym or yoga studio as a getaway and have a dedicated space to practice. Yoga is also a form of meditation which strengthens the mind and can be just what you need to slow down your racing thoughts, escaping from the chaos we are surrounded by. Yoga requires you to focus on your breath and your poses. In order to practice quality yoga, you won't have time to have the daily thoughts racing throughout your head. There is a time and place for racing. Racing is not a way to sustain yourself in long run, as you will exhaust yourself.
4. Increase Whole Food Consumption
Your body and mind require balance! How can you be your best self if you are not fueling your body with quality and nutrient dense foods? You can't, or at least it will be incredibly difficult to. Our bodies require nutrients to not only feed our bodies but our minds as well. Mental fog and racing thoughts can result from not eating enough or not eating the right foods. This can tremendously impact our mental state and lead to anxiety, depression, OCD tendencies and worsening bipolar mood changes. A large factor in diet and mental health such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are omega-3's!
"These fatty acids are also vital for the maintenance of normal brain function throughout life. They are abundant in the cell membranes of brain cells, preserving cell membrane health and facilitating communication between brain cells
According to Keith Pearson, PhD, RD on Omega- 3 importance.
5. Decrease Sugar Intake
Sugar is inflammatory and can lead to mental fog and mental inflammation. This is also because sugar, even when naturally occurring, affects blood sugar levels, which impact our mental and physical state. Our thoughts can become sporadic as they are racing through our mind. Thoughts that are not positive or productive simply lead to more worry. Sugar detox can be of vital importance in regaining control of your mind and slow those racing thoughts for once!
"If people with anxiety and/or depression tended to consume more sugary foods and drinks, this could be the real reason why a link between sugar intake and poorer mental health is observed."
This plays into the whole food consumption cycle as well and plays a large role in creating balance in our bodies.
6. Blur the Chaos- Allow Your Mind to Go Into Hyper-Racing Thoughts
Sometimes your racing thoughts can be used beautifully to find peace. It is about perspective.
This may sound similar to tip #1, but it takes a different approach to focusing. Instead of focusing on one thought, you instead focus on all of your racing thoughts at once. It has the same impact as when you try to say a whole bunch of words at once. They all get lost into different words and become a blur. The same thing happens with thoughts, they all get lost in the other ones. This may seem counter-productive and isn't for everyone, but can really work! After I have practiced this many times at night it has become a relaxing technique for me. Allow racing thoughts continually until you cannot distinguish which is which, resulting in a mind unable to have anxiety because there are no thoughts left to be anxious about.
7. Invest In Alone Time- Reduce Racing Thoughts and Improve Mental Clarity
With what time you ask? Make time! No, this is not all that easy, especially if you have kids or a full-time job. This doesn't need to be a regular occasion but one you can look forward to and recharge yourself... from racing to restfulness! With what money you ask? You don't need money to give yourself some much needed alone time! Yes, you can splurge on a massage, spa day or shopping trip but this isn't the only option. You can give yourself alone time to work-out, watch a favorite show, read a book, or go for a walk. Changing up the monotonous routine and even taking 10 minutes can give you that little break you need to continue forward with your day and decrease those racing thoughts. If you struggle with OCD, this may be challenging for you and require more effort than others, but don't let that stop you from investing in yourself and finding peace. We like to make excuses, saying we are too busy for ourselves. Usually, this is an excuse to forget that our bodies need a break and our minds need relief from the racing life we live! Your mind will thank you when you allow yourself to simply breathe!
8. Try Herbal Remedies
**Disclaimer: These are not meant to treat or cure any ailment but can eliminate side effects. I am not a medical professional, simply relaying information from reliable resources. Please check with your medical provider before trying these herbs to make sure they are safe for you and will not interact with any current medication or ailment.
Medication can be useful, but why not try to ease your anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or OCD with a more natural approach? Herbal remedies can be extremely useful if used correctly and under the supervision of your doctor or integrative nutrition specialist. Some herbal remedies that may help with the previously mentioned ailments as well as racing thoughts are... The below recommendations come from the website spiritofchange.org 1. Mulungu Bark: improves mood, aids sleep, reduces anxiety, improves mental clarity and brain function 2. Mucuna Pruriens: improves brain function, increases memory, regulates mood and cognition and is anti-inflammatory 3. Passion Flower: promotes calmness and relaxation, reduces irritability insomnia and agitation, and helps sleep disorders 4. Skullcap: anti-inflammatory, aids in mental disorders and protects the brain 5. Piper Methysticum Kava: helps with anxiety, depression, ADHD, psychosis and chronic fatigue syndrome 6. Ginseng: balances, stimulates and relaxes the nervous system, protects against age-related mental illnesses
In a #world that's consumed by everything #digital it's important to find time to #unwind and #reconnect with #yourself. #Lavender can help you do that! #Lavenderoil can reduce #anxiety, relieve pain, improve #sleep, and be used to #heal burns. #holistichealth #naturalremedies #bettersleep #lavenderplant #calmtime
9. Decrease Screen Time
Technology... It is wonderful and horrible at the same time. We use it to get things done, to communicate etc... but with how much information there is on the web this is a quick way to keep your mind racing with thoughts at night! Removing yourself from this distraction even 30 minutes to an hour before bed can be incredibly beneficial for your mental state. Have you ever watched tv or been on your phone right before bed and dreamt about what you read, or felt restless with thoughts while trying to sleep? This restlessness takes away quality sleep and often you may wake up feeling exhausted or like you never slept. The racing thoughts may replay over and over while you sleep causing even more exhaustion. Give your mind time to wind down before bed so you don't go to bed with a racing mind but a peaceful one.
10. Control What You Can, Let Go of What You Can't
Free yourself from the chains of worry! Stop holding onto the past or worrying about the future. Sometimes this requires outside help such as therapy and swallowing our pride. Discover the right resources to help you stop this build-up of anxiety and move on with living your life. There is no shame in asking for help. Truthfully many probably need to ask for help way more than we do. There are times we need to be in control and other instances we need to be strong enough to give up our control to be more joyous!
Take Your Life Back! You Owe It to Yourself to Find Peace!
Racing is for the marathon runner, racing is for the athlete, racing is for the occasional competitive tendencies we have. Racing is not for quality mental function. Racing thoughts are exhausting and are a quick way to lead to burn-out, preventing true productivity and joy. Use these tips, maybe 1 or 3 or all 10. Be encouraged to discover what works best for you. Racing thoughts, anxiety, depression, OCD and bipolar disorders can feel incredibly defeating at times. Invest in yourself and don't stop until you determine how you can create a peaceful mind again and take control of your racing thoughts! You are capable of greatness, so regain your inner peace and conquer your dreams!