If you’re finding your mind racing more than usual, chances are you’re not alone right now. In fact, it’s human nature for our thoughts to wander especially during times of stress.
But preoccupation with wandering thoughts can lead to a vicious cycle of negative thinking which can contribute to poor mental wellbeing. Ruminating on and replaying our fears and anxieties in heads can often mean that we end up catastrophising.
If you find yourself preoccupied with bothersome thoughts, there are a few things you can do to clear your mind and focus on what you need to.
Focus on the present
One of the first places a racing mind tends to go to is either the past or the future. If you find your mind doing a little bit of unwanted time travel try bringing your thoughts back to the present day. While goal setting for the future is important, thinking about negative things that may or may not happen doesn’t do our mental wellbeing any good. The same goes for ruminating on the past â€“ there’s nothing we can do to change what has already happened, therefore there’s no point in fixating on it. Focusing on the present will help you train your mind to think about the things in your life that you can control.
Write it down
If you find your wandering thoughts are getting the better of you or keeping you up at night, writing them out can help you clear your mind. Rather pushing repeat on the same troublesome thoughts, jotting them down within a notebook is a great way to move your focus onto something else. Writing out your negative thoughts can also help you to reassess if all your worry is really necessary â€“ when something is written down you are able to look at your thoughts more objectively. If your thoughts are keeping you up at night, here are some more tips to help you get a great night’s sleep.
Take a breath
Beating a racing mind can be as simple as taking your focus off of your mind and focusing on your breathing instead. When we start to get anxious or worried, the way we breathe often changes dramatically. Rather than taking deep breaths, when we are anxious we tend to take shallow, fast breaths.
To refocus your breathing relax your shoulders and inhale deeply through your nose. Feel your abdomen gently expand. Purse your lips and exhale out through your nose. Repeat this exercise five or so times to refocus your mind. If you find that your mind wanders often, it can be helpful to set up a little reminder to focus on your breathing. It can be as simple as putting a sticker on your desktop computer â€“ each time you look at the sticker practice the breathing exercise.