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6 Ways To Stop Racing Thoughts

Topic Overview

Racing Thoughts is a frame of mind where an individual starts to get multiple thoughts one after the other in quick succession. These thoughts may be about one specific topic or there may be multiple topics involved which will be completely unrelated. These thoughts are so rapid and fast that they can completely take the focus of the individual away from the task at hand. Racing Thoughts is a common presenting feature of various mood disorders and mental health conditions. They usually occur when an individual is excessively stressed or is overly anxious about certain situations. In some cases, an individual may experience racing thoughts about some events that had happened in the past which made the individual anxious or depressed [1].

In some cases, these thoughts may be about certain things in the present that may have bearing about how the future will unfold such as a financial crisis. These thoughts are completely out of proportion and have no constructive conclusion. As an example an individual who tends to be a bit forgetful will always have racing thoughts about how he or she forgets about things. If this happens at work he or she may be fired. If that happens what will they do in the future. Who will take care of the house and the kids? All these thoughts come in a flurry and will completely take the focus away of the individual from the task at hand [1].

These thoughts zap all the energy of the individual and the individual finds it extremely difficult to get away from such thoughts. They also impair the sleep of the individual which has its separate consequences. Racing Thoughts can be quite scary at times as an individual may feel that things are getting out of control. However, this is not true. Having racing thoughts just implies that the body is under undue stress and all it needs is some rest and relaxation. Mentioned below are 6 best ways to stop racing thoughts from affecting the daily life of an individual [1].

6 Ways To Stop Racing Thoughts

There are quite a few effective ways to decrease the incidences of racing thoughts. This can be done by controlling the mind or by way of distraction. The ways to deal with racing thoughts mentioned below will take some time to take effect but once it does so then the occurrence of racing thoughts will go down substantially. The steps to decrease racing thoughts include [2]:

Avoid Thinking About Past or Future: The best way to manage racing thoughts is to always concentrate on the present and not to think much about what has already happened or what may happen in the future. In many cases, people complain about thoughts concerning things that have not happened and may never happen in the future or things that have already happened in the past which cannot be changed [2].

For these people, it is necessary to focus on what they are doing now. They should continuously remind themselves about not to worry about the past or future and to think only about what is in their control and that is the present [2].

Deep Breaths: This is yet another effective way of decreasing racing thoughts or completely getting rid of them. When the mind is racing with irrelevant thoughts then the body presses the panic button which increases the respiratory and the pulse rate [2].

By taking deep breaths, these parameters come under control and there is a sense of calm that prevails in the mind which is quite effective in eliminating racing thoughts. Deep breathing is an easy exercise to do and can be done anywhere whether in classroom or in office [2].

Thinking About Options: This is also quite effective in decreasing racing thoughts. This is because in almost all the cases of racing thoughts the end is always a catastrophe. This fuels the anxiety that is already present in the individual making him or her more scared and induces more thoughts of panic. In such cases, it is best if the individual speaks to himself or herself that this disaster is never going to happen and keep the mind calm [2].

It may be difficult as the mind may not accept this thought but practicing this constantly will ultimately succeed and the racing thoughts about such disasters will gradually go away. As an example, if the mind thinks that he or she will be fired from the job for a single mistake then the thoughts can be changed to mistakes happen with everyone and the best thing to do is to give the best effort to correct the mistake [2].

Distractions: This is perhaps the best way to deal with racing thoughts. To distract the mind from racing thoughts one can get involved with various hobbies. This allows the focus of the individual to be on something that he or she likes. Listening to soft music, gardening, and cooking are some options that people love to do and can be quite effective in dealing with racing thoughts [2].

Exercises: Doing exercises regularly is also quite a good way of dealing with stress and racing thoughts. Exercises and physical activity result in the production of endorphins. These are hormones which are essential in keeping the mind calm and give a sense of feeling good. This effectively eliminates all racing thoughts that may be going on in the mind of the individual [2].

This has been proved in various studies that regular exercises are quite effective in treating symptoms of depression and improvement of mood. If an individual feels that racing thoughts are getting over him or her then hopping on to a treadmill or the gym might just do the trick in dealing with these thoughts [2].

Lavender Oil: Inhaling lavender oil is also quite effective in dealing with racing thoughts. Studies have shown that lavender oil has ingredients that help calm the mind.

This has been observed in a study published in a medical journal in Thailand in which researchers have mentioned the effect of lavender oil in calming the brain and mind [2].
In addition to the steps mentioned above, there are also certain dietary changes that can be made to enhance mood and prevent racing thoughts. These dietary changes include [2]

Low-Glycemic Foods: Foods such as nuts and seeds have proven to be quite effective for good mental health. These foods are low on sugar content and are high on healthy fats, fiber, and proteins. They control the blood sugar levels in the body and enhance mental function and improve thought process. Skinless Chicken, nuts seeds, and vegetables are good sources of low glycemic foods [2].

Food rich in sugars increase the levels of blood sugar in the body and can affect the thought process and mental well-being of an individual. This has also been proved in studies that high glycemic foods increase the risk of anxiety and depression and are a source for racing thoughts and thus should be avoided [2].

Antioxidants: Eating foods high on antioxidants are also quite good for overall mental health and improved thought process. Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants. They help in dealing with oxidative stress which according to various studies plays an important role in the development of anxiety and depression. Apart from fruits and vegetables, berries, nuts, and beans are also quite high on antioxidants [2].

Magnesium: Eating food rich in magnesium has a calming effect on the brain and helps in preventing racing thoughts. Researchers have proved that people with deficiency in magnesium tend to have anxiety and depression. Spinach, almonds, and tofu are good examples of sources of magnesium [2].

In conclusion, racing thoughts in most cases occur as a stress reaction to a traumatic event that has happened in the past such as spending time in the war or going through an ugly divorce, in some cases they also indicate towards an underlying medical condition. These medical conditions almost always require medical intervention for treatment [2].

People with racing thoughts get a flurry of negative thoughts which at times can be quite scary for the individual. These thoughts may start to prop up anytime and may make life tough for the affected individual. The steps mentioned above are an effective way to treat racing thoughts and improve the mental health of an individual [2].

In addition, it is always better to consult with a mental health professional to get a better idea of the treatment options that are available to counter these thoughts and get to the bottom of the causes. In many cases finding out a cause is perhaps the best way to find out the best treatment option for the patient to deal with racing thoughts [2].


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 29, 2019

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