After a long day at work or a busy day with the family, it can be a difficult task to shift the mind into a lower gear. Stressful emotions, excitement, or worries about the next day will all create racing thoughts that can be difficult to control. When the mind is racing, meditation seems like an almost impossible task.
Now here’s some good news: no matter how many racing thoughts you have, there is still an opportunity to slow down the mind so that a level of calmness can be achieved. Here’s how to make that happen.
#1. Identify the source of the agitation.
Whether it is being overwhelmed with commitments, worrying about the next day, or reliving stressful memories, mental agitation is the cause of those racing thoughts. We need to be able to identify the specific triggers that have caused this condition to happen in order to cope with them. Something as simple as background noise can sometimes be what triggers an overactive mind. If you can remove the trigger or settle the issue, the agitation will go away and so will the racing thoughts.
#2. Block out your schedule for meditation.
One of the easiest traps to fall into is over-commitment. Meditation seems like an extraneous activity, so it gets cut out of the schedule. The result? The mind is exposed to even more stress, worry, and guilt – the very fuel needed for racing thoughts. Try blocking out a specific time in your schedule for meditation and then protect it. Make that time be your time. As the mind can decompress, you may find the racing thoughts will begin to slow down.
#3. Anticipating distractions can be more bothersome than real distractions.
If you have kids at home and you’re the only one watching them, then meditating can be difficult even though you’re not being disturbed. This is because the mind is anticipating a distraction. It’s coming up with ways to counter that anticipated distraction as you’re trying to meditate. Even if something doesn’t happen, you can’t focus because you think trouble can come at any moment. You can counter this issue by initiating plans before your meditation time that can resolve the common distractions you may face during your blocked out time.
#4. Slow, deep breaths can help to slow down the mind.
Racing thoughts are caused by multiple distractions and worries. If you can bring the mind to focus on a singular conscious task, then you can begin to slow down the racing thoughts. Deep breaths are a great way to begin a meditation session because it calms the body and provides that focus point.
#5. Get some exercise.
Meditation is a great way to release stress, but so is exercise. If you’re too stressed out to sit still and try meditating, then go out for a walk or some other exercise. This will help the mind process the stressful situation and then you’ll be able to come back to meditate later on in the day.
Racing thoughts can make it really difficult to meditate for even 5 minutes. If you implement these strategies when your mind won’t slow down, then you may find that your meditation time can start to be more productive for you on a regular basis.