Have you ever fallen into bed completely exhausted and craving the blissful silence of sleep? Are you suddenly inundated with stressful thoughts when your head hits the pillow? Do you spend hours worrying over whether you finished that project at work, spoke harshly to your children, or some other anxiety-ridden event?
These are all signs of an overactive mind. Some people struggle with anxiety throughout their day, and others don’t feel the full force of their anxiety until night. When everything around you is finally quiet and calm, your mind has a chance to tell you everything it’s been holding onto that day.
There are plenty of ways to help quiet an overactive mind. First, you’ll need to understand the factors contributing to an overactive mind. Then you’ll be able to use these techniques to help ease your mind, so you can get a good night’s sleep!
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What Causes Your Mind To Run On Overdrive?
Many people feel overwhelmed when their mind is overactive, racing, and on total overdrive. It’s a disturbing feeling when your thoughts run out of control, and several factors can lead to this happening.
Certain illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, and ADD/ADHD, are linked to an overactive mind. Plenty of other factors can contribute to an overactive mind as well, and here’s a list of the most common:
- Information overload
- A major life change such as a new job, relocation, a new baby, or the death of a loved one
- Poor diet
- Caffeine consumption
- Too much or too little mental/physical stimulation
Basically, a lot of things could contribute to an overactive mind. Determining the cause of your overactive mind requires analyzing your lifestyle and the various stressors you experience.
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How To Quiet An Overactive Mind?
You might be tempted to shut down entirely when you struggle to fall asleep at night or pay attention during the day due to an overactive mind. Trying to push away the racing thoughts isn’t often just makes them more intense.
When you need relief from an overactive mind, try the following techniques.
Get The Right Amount Of Exercise
Exercise doesn’t just strengthen your body and improve your physical health. Getting active also improves your mental health and tires you out mentally and physically, which helps reduce the frequency and intensity of an overactive mind.
The CDC recommends all adults get 150 minutes of physical activity every week and two days of muscle-strengthening activity. You can spread this throughout the entire week or fit it into a couple of days.
Ensuring you get the proper amount of exercise will provide your body and mind with the proper stimulation and make it easier for you to calm down at night.
Cut Back On Stimulants
Stimulants are a huge challenge for most people. Many of our favorite things seem classified as stimulants, like that frappuccino from Starbucks you love or your favorite sugary sweet.
Reducing screen time, caffeine, sugar, and nicotine will help quiet an overactive mind. Most people are overstimulated these days between addictions to screens, caffeine, and sugar.
Nicotine addiction isn’t as common as it once was, but 8.5% of the American population is still addicted to this stimulant as of 2022.
Quitting nicotine will help enormously, but cutting down on all forms of stimulants will encourage your mind and body to be more relaxed. Instead, look into natural remedies for concentration and focus.
Give Meditation A Try
Meditation is an excellent way to learn to center yourself and feel at peace. Many people unfamiliar with this practice envision a person in a dark room sitting cross-legged, surrounded by lit candles and new-age music, and chanting to themselves while breathing deeply.
While this does represent a type of meditation, it’s not the only method available. When you are overwhelmed by an overactive mind, this is the perfect opportunity to practice a brief meditation.
Find a quiet space and sit comfortably. Close your eyes and put your focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose for four seconds. Focus on the sensations you feel as the air fills your lungs.
Hold that breath for seven seconds. Any thoughts or emotions you feel while holding your breath should be allowed to float through your consciousness. Don’t try to repress feelings or thoughts, but don’t analyze them. Simply allow them to float by and focus on the sensation of holding your breath.
Last, exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. Focus on the relief you feel in your chest as the air exits your lungs. Feel the way your body tingles at the release of carbon dioxide, and acknowledge how much you need that breath.
This is an excellent type of breathing meditation that can work for you in almost every situation. Once you master this technique, you can use it whenever needed.
Write It Down
Sometimes overactive minds are filled with thoughts and emotions begging to be acknowledged. An excellent way to empty your mind of the backlog of thoughts and feelings is to write them.
Put your worries, feelings, and to-do list down on paper. Once you do this, your mind will be clearer and more relaxed. You can look back at the paper later to analyze what you wrote. Returning to those thoughts and feelings will provide you with valuable insight!
Go For A Walk
When all else fails, try going for a brief walk. This is a great way to get in a little exercise and stimulate your mind and body. A short, 20-minute walk will give your mind a chance to focus on something else and engage your body in an activity that feels productive.
When you’re ready to return to your task or attempt to sleep again, your mind will be out of the thought loop it was previously stuck in, and your body will be ready to relax.
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Quiet Your Overactive Mind With Health Marketplace
Many people who are dealing with an overactive mind look for a distraction to replace the anxious thoughts and feelings swirling around in their minds. A great way to distract yourself is by reading more helpful articles about improving your health!