Our mind is a complex machine. It runs 24/7/365, and sometimes, it’s hard to stop the train of thoughts. It’s a big problem for some people who can’t even go to sleep because of overthinking. A lot of thoughts go through our minds every day. According to research, the number is 12000-15000 at the very least or 50000-70000 on the higher end.
No matter how many thoughts fly through your mind every day, we could argue that thinking a little less would be great. And, while it’s impossible to stop the train of thoughts, you can at least slow it down.
Below you’ll see a few effective and simple methods that will help you stop overthinking stuff and live a more relaxed life.
The Complexity of the Human Brain
The great Michio Kaku once said that on our shoulders sits the most complicated mechanism in the Universe. He was right – the brain is indeed a unique organ. Thoughts are not something we can put our finger on. They are quite abstract that even science cannot define them. We just know that we have them and that’s it.
They obviously come as a result of neural connections of which there are trillions in our brain. Science has been able to conclude that all complex thinking occurs in the frontal lobe including voluntary movement and speech. In short, the human brain is very intricate.
Due to the trillions of neural connections and who knows how many thoughts, we have poor attention spans. That’s not because of mobile gadgets or work – we’ve always had poor attention spans. Internal distractions occur in the brain itself and emotional distractors don’t make things better. It’s as if the brain is making things hard for itself and there’s nothing you can do to slow it down.
But, you can learn how to slow it down. It will allow you to relax and focus and reduce the risk of mental problems. The mind can be trained – it’s a daunting task, but it can be done.
Here are a few ways to quiet your racing mind:
Acceptance is defined as the removal of attention and is a crucial step to slowing down the train of thoughts. The mind sees what it wants to see. When it wants things to be different, it ruminates the situation. When we want something to be different so bad, we can’t stop thinking about it.
That’s where acceptance comes in. it’s a simple concept that acknowledges your thoughts and feelings and doesn’t allow you to run away from things. Be grateful for what you have and accept things as they are. You can’t obsess about the future or something that might or may not happen. Learn how to accept things and you’ll feel much better.
Train Your Attention
Remember when we said we have short attention spans? That can be improved. Eliminating internal and external distractions will allow you to manage your attention and prevent overthinking. This will require engaging in activities that can strengthen our level of attention.
Have you ever heard of focused attention meditation (FAM)? FAM involves choosing an anchor such as a mantra to focus on and keep your attention in check. As soon as your mind runs away, you can use the anchor to get it back.
People always dream of bigger and better things. We strive to do this or do that when in reality, we should let things progress naturally and at their own pace. Being ambitious is great, but it’s also a base for overthinking. Stop striving so much – things will happen one way or the other.
The last one is a pretty simple concept. If you want to stop overthinking and ruining your mind, you’ll need to just relax and take things easy. We’re not kidding. Allow yourself some time off (mentally) every once in a while. Flip the switch off and just meditate for a while every day if you can. You need 10-20 minutes of meditation in a quiet place or doing nothing at all with your mind switched off to teach it to slow down.
It will eventually become second nature and you’ll learn how to relax with ease.