8 ways to help alleviate racing thoughts

Racing thoughts often start when we feel stressed or overwhelmed by what’s going on in our lives. Here are eight ways to alleviate them.

Meditation

When we meditate, racing thoughts can occur. However, through mindfulness, we can learn how to accept and detach ourselves from those thoughts, or better yet, face them without reacting to them. Through regular practice, we can learn to break free from unhelpful thoughts.

Relationships

Sometimes racing thoughts can cloud our view of what’s happening in our relationships and lead to communication difficulties. Avoiding these thoughts won’t help and can ultimately have an increased negative effect. If you find it tough to talk face to face, try writing.  It will allow you to focus your mind and reduce the power of your racing thoughts.

Thoughts on life and the future

Racing thoughts often focus on life and the uncertainty of the future. Practicing mindfulness and carrying out relaxation exercises can help to calm your body and your mind, allowing you to focus on the here and now.

Try selecting an associated word to your desired mental space – such as “relax.” Hearing, speaking and embodying the word “relax” can become a powerful cue to relieve your stress. Saying your chosen word as you breathe out slowly will help to make you feel more relaxed.

Work-life balance

The work-life balance juggle is real – and it’s becoming increasingly important to find and prioritize a healthy balance. Try to draw a line between work and your home life to ensure you switch off and take a mental break from your 9-to-5. Spending time with family and friends, having fun, and making time for exercise, relaxation and hobbies you enjoy will all help to reduce stress and allow you to turn off the repetitive work thoughts that can invade your downtime.

Health

A healthy, balanced diet can also help reduce racing thoughts. Include lean meats, nuts, seeds, wholegrain carbohydrates. Fruit and vegetables such as berries, beans, citrus fruits and apples are good sources of antioxidants which help protect cells from oxidative stress in the body  

Regular exercise can help improve your mental wellbeing. Go for a brisk walk or jog, it’ll help settle your mind and provide a welcome distraction.

Saving money

Have a bucket list?  Something you really want to see, do or buy? Creating a money-saving goal is a great way to save faster. Money experts advise giving your goal a name to help reach it faster. If you’re new to saving, try starting with a small goal. For example, saving each month for a special concert or sporting event, a nice dinner, or a gift for someone special.

To work out your budget, grab as much information as you can about your income and spending and write it all down. If you need to cut back on your spending to save towards your goal, consider making easy reductions such as bringing in your lunch from home, or skipping that high-priced latte.

Environment

At times, the environment we’re in can affect how we think. Having self-awareness can help you to recognize where your thoughts and emotions are leading you and enable you to make necessary changes. One of the best ways to increase your self-awareness is to write down what you want to do and track your progress. You could volunteer for an environmental charity, contribute to a community garden, participate in a river or beach clean-up, or become involved in woodland conservation. 

Fear of failure

Our fear of failure can be immobilizing, prohibiting us from progressing and, at times, even moving. This self-sabotage can appear in the form of procrastination, perfectionism, anxiety, reluctance to try new things, and low self-esteem or self-confidence.

A visualization is a powerful tool for goal setting. Start with a few small goals and make them slightly challenging. Visualization is also a renowned relaxation technique you can use to visualize overcoming your fear or to invoke calm whenever you feel overwhelmed by your fear. The brain’s response to imagined scenarios is often on par to its response to real-life success and failure, so make visualization part of your mental wellbeing toolkit.

(1) Appetite – Cancer Research Center, Division of Public Health Sciences, Seattle, 2016. Subjective mood and energy levels of healthy weight and overweight healthy adults on high and low-glycaemic load experimental diets

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