Whose mind isn’t racing, given the hyper pace of modern life and incoming information? Here is an exercise to slow down your mind and sanely process ideas, tasks and thoughts so you don’t simply react to things without being fully aware; to stop your mind from racing.
1. When feeling overwhelmed, like your head is going to burst, sit in a quiet place. Relax. Breathe deeply. Be comfortable. Make sure you are not disturbed.
2. Withdraw from the chaos of your mind a bit. Observe your thoughts. Do not try and control them, do not focus on any of them. Do not get hooked into following any of the thoughts. If that happens, stop and begin again. Simply watch your thoughts flow by, like they are racing by on a movie screen.
3. Breathe deeply. Slow your breath down. Relax. As your breathing and heart slow, so will the flow of your thoughts.
4. Count your thoughts. For example, “Oh, I was late to that meeting!” (1) “My foot itches.” (2) “I hope it is sunny tomorrow.” (3) That is all. Just count them. When you reach 100, stop.
5. Now let a thought come. Hold it. Examine it. Deal with it. You have banished that overrun and overwhelmed feeling. You have control of your mind, not the other way around.
Adapted from Clean Sweep by Denny Sargent (Weiser Books, 2007). Bopyright (c) 2007 by Denny Sargent. Reprinted by permission of Weiser Books.
Adapted from Clean Sweep by Denny Sargent (Weiser Books, 2007).