Jonathan Levy LCSW on stopping a racing mind
Jonathan Levy LCSW: Co-founder and Marketing director at Psychotherapy Associates Chicago.
We recently posted a blog discussing anxiety, nervousness, and worrying. A racing mind and some tips and tricks to help alleviate it seems like a perfect place to pick up from.
A racing mind is very frustrating and can make you feel out of control. Rest assured, as an experienced Chicago therapist I have seen it all and you are not out of control. Hopefully at this point it is something that irritates you. By Googling the topic and researching it I am confident you are in a good mindset to try and deal with this issue.
Many people report that their minds fill with endless thoughts about things that could go wrong or stupid things they have done in the past. Racing thoughts can be like watching a horrible movie playing over and over again. Frequently, a racing mind can be a sign of underlying anxiety. Additional symptoms can include:
Persistent worry that is disproportionate to the actual threat
Difficultly sitting still
Increased heart rate
A general feeling of being out of control
If any of these sound familiar, you are not alone. As an experienced Chicago therapist I have developed some tips that I hope you find helpful:
- Talk about your worries with a supportive friend: Many people are dealing with the exact same issue you are dealing with and they can be helpful. Do not be afraid to open up to friends and ask for help.
- Engage in physical activity, such as exercise or even a slow walk around your neighborhood: We have already discussed how yoga and Tai Chi can be extremely beneficial to body, mind, and soul. Sometimes a racing mind is pent up energy and going for a walk is enough it soothe your mind and burn off some of that excess energy. It doesn't matter what you. Just do something!
- Practice controlled breathing; inhaling for a count of 4, hold for 7, and breath out for 8: Diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to help people relax, slows your hear rate, and the concentration on the breathing distracts the mind. All very beneficial things.
- Immerse yourself in a healthy distraction: Along with the breathing exercise above, there is a plethora of activities available to distract oneself. Think of things you do, places you frequent, or people you visit who seems to transparent your mind away. Identify those and engage with them.
- Meditate: Which can help create a sense of distance from you and your worried thoughts, but be warned. Meditation is not simple. It takes time and practice to become truly effective at the practice. The distraction of learning to meditate well is a welcomed distraction at a minimum.
If you try these things and continue to struggle with racing thoughts, it may be good to speak to a professional, either a primary care physician, psychiatrist, or therapist. Hopefully some of the tips are beneficial and provide some relief. If not, you know how to get ahold of me ;-)
About the author: Jonathan Levy LCSW is an experienced Chicago therapist, counselor, and life coach. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Smith College. He is the Marketing Coordinator and co-founder of Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago. Jonathan Levy LCSW has tremendous success helping patients and most attribute his success to his warm touch and friendly demeanor.