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How can I stop thinking and shut my brain off?

159 Answers
Last Updated: 10/04/2019 at 4:46am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jessica McDaniel, LPC, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have been practicing cognitive behavioral psychotherapy since 2007 with a diverse group of adult clients with various diagnoses, all races, and socioeconomic classes.

Top Rated Answers
September 23rd, 2015 8:29pm
Well I wouldn't want to shut your brain off, but listening to calm music can change the way your brain functions and, being in a quiet area with minimal distractions. Moments of extended silence leads to over thinking, so fill up your free time with something.
November 27th, 2014 4:49am
The harder you try to stop thinking, the more you will be annoyed by your thoughts. Therefore, stop resisting the thoughts. Accept that they're there. Poof! Once you accept your thoughts you'll be surprised at how fast they go away.
November 29th, 2014 6:12am
There are two types of meditation: concentrative and non-directive. Concentrative meditation works by placing your conscious focus on a single object (i.e. your breath, a candle, a still image in your mind). By focusing on a single object, by becoming engrossed on a single object, the mind should become quieter.
June 17th, 2015 2:38am
One cannot shut our brain off, it's not how the brain works. However we can calm the mental chatter that we experience on a constant basis by meditation. A non religious meditation designed specifically to reduce stress and calm the mind would be a perfect aid to calming the thoughts.
September 3rd, 2015 4:36am
I feel that breathing exercises help with any situation of overthinking/overworry. Try this gif below!
March 25th, 2015 3:51am
There is a breathing exercise you can practice while you're in bed trying to fall asleep. 1-Breathe IN for 4 seconds. (pull deeply from your diaphragm)| 2-Hold that breath for 7 seconds. 3-Exhale slowly for 8 seconds. (it's recommended to exhale through your mouth, but do what's most comfortable). You will find this will quiet your mind and relax your body. You will notice your heart rate slowing down.
October 23rd, 2015 12:21pm
Meditation is really helpful for quieting the mind. Listening to one of the mindfulness exercises on 7 cups can help with that.
December 23rd, 2015 9:46pm
Your brain never shuts off. It is constantly on even though your asleep so you are still going.
December 5th, 2015 11:53pm
In order to empty your mind, you need to have a pacific attitude toward your thoughts and keep calm and collected. If you try to fight against "having thoughts" you might happen to only stress yourself and lose energy. First of all, find the room you most enjoy to stay at, play a relaxing music or stay silent (the key is to choose what you prefer) and relax (sit, lay on your bed etc.), feel your whole body relaxing, close your eyes, smile... Once you are relaxed enough, start to dissipate your thoughts. They'll try to come over your mind and when you notice you are having them, interrupt them! Start paying attention only at your breath and keep going. When thoughts strike again, interrupt them again, watch them freeze and reinforce your attention only at your breath. By concentrating in nothing, you'll empty your mind and allow new things to come! Silent and relax~
January 1st, 2016 8:41pm
Distracting yourself Is the best way to shut your brain off because if you are not doing anything, your brain will get bored and start to make you think about thoughts, mainly negative
September 23rd, 2015 6:47pm
Read! Write a journal, do some housecleaning! Do everything you can other than sitting in bed and watching movies!
December 26th, 2014 7:19am
Thinking is not the issue, it is the stuff you are thinking about. so switch the thoughts. think happy thoughts. Name things that make you happy and make you smile.
September 12th, 2015 2:58am
It's a bit of a paradox isn't it? The more you try to stop thinking the harder it is. If you're preoccupied with something, preoccupy constructively. Separate what is in your control and what isn’t. Focus on the items that are, and the initial steps needed to achieve them. Then write them down. Writing out your thoughts will help to stop them from recycling in your mind. You'll know you've captured them to revisit at another time. And remember, worrying is either too early or too late.
January 8th, 2015 4:15am
Sometimes it helps to play little games in your mind, like making anagrams of words or trying to remember how to get to your friend's house by memory.
September 9th, 2015 11:53pm
I can let go of thoughts if I do breathing exercises. If I focus on the inhale and release the thoughts on the exhale. Soon they are hard to hold onto. Then physically the breathing has relaxed me. The thoughts may come back but for the time I am meditating and breathing, they clear.
September 25th, 2015 6:31pm
Have you tried any of the mindful exercises that 7 Cups of Tea offers? These might help you. They are in the self help category
December 19th, 2015 3:56am
you never can as long as you have a brain, so take advantage of it, don't stop thinking, think think think!
November 27th, 2017 12:28pm
Get active! Meet with a friend, do sports, listen to music, cook a nice meal or do something else whichis fun. Sometimes it is hard to stop doing something but easier to start doing something else.
November 27th, 2014 3:10am
Do something simple that makes you think so you can't focus on other things. For example, count backwards from 100. Try listening to guided meditations. Write. Pray.
September 18th, 2015 12:23pm
You can try distattion, try doing things that make you happier and feel alive and your brain will just stop throwing thoughts at you if you don't pay attention to the thoughts.
November 28th, 2014 2:57pm
In a lot of ways this can sound like a paradox, but for the most part it *is* possible. While you can never turn off your brain, you can distract it. Distractions can range from just talking to someone, doing something you enjoy, or even doing work or chores. Keeping your hands and mind distracted will often help fight off those negative thoughts. For me, meditation also plays a big role in keeping my mind peaceful and clear. We shouldn't ignore or pretend the negative thoughts we have do not exist, however, but instead understand them and address them as best as we can. While dwelling isn't helpful, sometimes it's unavoidable and at those moments a healthy distraction can make all the difference.
August 29th, 2015 7:33pm
When I find myself wanting to do such a thing, I play relaxing nature sounds or seek ASMR videos online and lay down. Focusing on these sounds allows me to zone out. Depending on the person; reading a book, listening to music, taking a nap, or going out for a walk are all methods of clearing the mind.
September 3rd, 2015 1:37am
Meditation is a very powerful way to control the flow of your thoughts . Sting quietly and try relax the mind and body and observe your thoughts coming and going , as an " outside observer" will eventually calm you down.
September 4th, 2015 7:28am
You can't really shut off your brain or you would be dead, but to stop thinking about your worries all you have to so is think of your happy place. I know, it super cliché but trust me it works. You can also put on instrumental music or your favorite song. Just anything that make you happy and forget about your troubles.
September 6th, 2015 3:03pm
one method that could help is get a nap or do some meditation or read a book , garden , fish or do what hobbies i like
September 9th, 2015 6:55pm
Your brain is constantly thinking of something or the other... that's an amazing feature about your brain.... you can try meditating while taking deep breaths in a relaxed comfortable environment and you will feel better
October 21st, 2015 10:00pm
By doing something completely unrelated to the thing you're thinking about! Just do something that'll take your mind off the thing you're thinking about. Game, play an instrument, talk to people, anything that's unrelated to the thing that's bugging you.
January 1st, 2016 11:25am
You cant actually do that, but if you mean to relax and stop worrying, try meditation and breathing exercises.
February 5th, 2016 9:33pm
Meditate, relax, go to sleep these are all very calming and will help you stay distracted........./.
November 27th, 2014 2:06pm
Relax, take a deep breath, and concentrate on your breath, in & out...then you will automatically stop the rest thoughts and fall asleep as time goes by