3 Easy Steps to Stop your Racing Thoughts

mindfulness-The fast-paced life that we are living in today often takes a toll on our wellbeing; we lose touch with ourselves and get carried away with thoughts that make our stress levels rise exponentially…

But, are those thoughts helping us achieve our goals? Are they useful in any way? And most importantly… are they true?… the answer is no.

Problems, obstacles and challenges exist, they are simply part of life and we all experience them from time to time. Yet often we find ourselves immerse in a spiral of repetitive thoughts, either going over a past situation time and time again, or anticipating a catastrophic outcome of our current concerns, involved in never ending strings of thoughts that have a pattern, consume your time and energy, and often have no rational conclusion.

Racing thoughts not only create psychological discomfort but they also impact our overall wellbeing, affecting our health and our relationships.

Well, the good news is that we can regain control of our minds and wellbeing. Whereas the inner work that we all can do is a lifetime project, here we have some easy tools to start with that will help us win the battle to our racing thoughts:

1.- BREATHE

Yes, breathe! You will probably think: “well, I’m breathing now!”… The truth is that most of us have adopted a shallow breathing pattern that doesn’t support a state of calmness. Shallow breathing draws a minimal amount of air only to our chest area using the intercostal muscles rather than through the lungs via the diaphragm, which increases our heart rate as our poor heart needs to work extra hard to ensure that all of our organs have the minimum amount of oxygen they require. Increased heart rates trigger a sense of nervousness as a natural response of our body to what’s perceived as a danger.

Practicing conscious deep breathing will trigger a sense of calmness within seconds. Simply take a few minutes to focus on your breathing; notice your current breathing pattern and proceed to take a few deep breaths, holding the air in for a few seconds before exhaling. Repeat ten times, or as many as you wish, and notice how much calmer you feel.

2.- EXPOSE THE LIAR

Yes, racing thoughts are often liars! Our mind tends to worry about things it is convinced are true but most of the time are actually not true. Ask yourself: is this thought true? Do I have any evidence that what I am worrying about is actually happening or going to happen? Challenge your thoughts. Write down the answers. You will most likely come to the conclusion that you are worrying about something that simply is not real.

3.- REPLACE IT WITH A MANTRA

A Mantra is a simple phrase or word that you repeat to calm your mind. Several studies in our mind and behavior have come to the conclusion that repeating a Mantra (out loud or silently) reduces the activity in the part of your brain that is responsible for your mind wandering.

Find a mantra that you resonate with. Your mantra can be a simple word or sound such as “Ohm”, or a short sentence like “My life gets better and better”. Find a mantra that makes you feel good and repeat it whenever your mind starts playing on you. It will replace the recurring thoughts and you will start to feel calm and in control.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly”

Have a lovely day.

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