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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
- Expert in Sleeping Well
December 9th, 2014 1:31am
That's very hard to do but the best way is relaxation ...put on some music and try to shut all your senses off
December 21st, 2014 8:24pm
Doing something you really like, like reading, writing cooking. Anything that takes all your thoughts for a while.
March 15th, 2015 5:16pm
Thinking is very good, however, too many thoughts can be overwhelming at once. Is it necessary to stop thinking? Could we possibly just try to focus our mind on a couple of things at a time? This could be helpful. Practicing mindfulness can be very helpful. Try to be present in the moment. Focus on what you see right now, what you hear, using all of your senses. Look into the practice of mindfulness. Go outside in nature and look at the trees, listen to the birds, pick up a pretty acorn. Go into a quiet room or lie down if possible. Take deep breaths, hold them in and them breathe out using your diaphragm. Relax if possible. This can be hard but with some practice, you can make progress. Also, using technology at night right before bed can cause our minds to race and disturb our sleep. Hope this was helpful. Good luck and I completely connect with this question.
August 20th, 2015 5:04am
Try relaxation exercises like deep-breathing, guided imagery, progressive relaxation. Sometimes it helps to tell your intrusive thoughts "NO" or "STOP" verbally.
August 29th, 2015 3:33am
When stressful thoughts are running through your mind, try practicing mindfulness. Pay attention to all of the little sights and sounds of your surroundings that you usually tune out. Be fully present in the moment, as opposed to fully present in the thoughts that are weighing you down.
August 29th, 2015 3:41pm
It's a hard thing.. You should make a Tumblr account and use it! :) It helps me a lot to shut my brain off.
August 30th, 2015 10:24pm
Theres honestly no way besides , distracting yourself. I'm in the same place as you and sometimes it hurts , i feel different compared to others and feel like im non stop on this
September 2nd, 2015 3:45pm
Overthinking can be very tiring. Of course the first thing to find out; What are you thinking about? Is there something you can do about it right now? If not; write it down on a little note and save it for later. Save the note and set yourself a time a day appr. 15-30 minutes to think about the things you were thinking about earlier (so the thoughts on the note).
September 5th, 2015 12:13pm
I find that doing a mindfulness meditation exercise can be a really useful way to help shut off your brain. By focussing on your breathing, sensations in the body and sounds in your environment, this can help to refocus your thinking.
September 6th, 2015 12:57am
You cannot stop yourself from thinking, and sometimes it can helpful to reflect while thinking. Try to write down what you're thinking about or if you'd rather be distracted watch a TV show or put on some soothing music if you're trying to fall asleep.
September 12th, 2015 10:42am
Thinking about a goal you have for the future, spending time with people who make you happy, read a book to get away from it all, write all your thoughts on paper, scrunch it up and throw it away
September 13th, 2015 1:11am
I would try counting to 100 or even a larger number or focusing on breathing in and out, to try to stop thinking about things
September 16th, 2015 1:31am
Try simple relaxation techniques. Control your breath. Clear your mind. You can do it anytime, anywhere. Otherwise - try reading a book. It should calm you and allow you to let go of the stress.
September 16th, 2015 2:57am
To stop thinking and shut your brain off, try listening to calming instrumentals (no lyrics), or counting. Always talk to a close friend about this, too.
September 16th, 2015 10:33pm
Meditation is hard to learn, but very effective. A good book for you could be Buddha's Brain. It may be a good thing for you to learn how to do this.
September 17th, 2015 3:18pm
Personally, when I can't shut my brain off, I kinda close my eyes and focus on breathing. Take in the world around me. Relax and let all the tension in my body go. If you kinda shut your body off, your brain will follow.
September 18th, 2015 5:49am
way you can stop thinking and shut your brain off is by never going to bed with alot on your mind understand everything cannot be solved overnight but try your best to have an outlet to release any negative energy thats causing you to over think. practice meditation, prayer, reading a book, or simply talking to a love one before you end or start day that way your mind will be at peace and ease.
September 19th, 2015 5:45pm
By listening to what it is saying. By writing down the thoughts. Venting out to someone. If our brain is thinking something, it doesn't always mean that it is thinking rubbish. Sometimes listening to our babbles, can lead to a deeper understanding of our selves and our feelings. I listen to music when I have nobody to vent out to and pour out my heart in writing.
September 24th, 2015 2:39pm
Mindful meditation honestly works wonders! I've practiced it on and off, but it seriously helps with focusing your mind and learning to let go of unwanted and cluttered thoughts.
September 26th, 2015 2:55pm
One way is to distract yourself by doing thing you love. Try out some new things, cultivate a new hobby you always wanted to try, do anything but just do it. Because if you sit empty thoughts will rush in your head and you probably don't want that so be creative go out watch life do what you love and spread happiness.
September 27th, 2015 7:42pm
Something I've found very helpful is a technique I learned when I was doing yoga. You lay down comfortably on your back, close your eyes and breathe. You should breathe from your abdomen, rather than your chest, when doing this. You will relax yourself starting from your toes... you focus only on picturing your toes relaxing, each and every toe individually. Then you move onto your feet, your ankles, your legs and up... through every single body part. Think of that body part relaxing, letting go of your troubles, letting go of worries and just breathing... Picturing the hurry and the worry leaving your body with each breath. Works for me every time!
October 21st, 2015 11:53pm
Meditation is probably the best way to stop thinking. Listen to nature sounds (I love the ocean) and breathe in and out. When you breathe in say "re" and when you breathe out say "lax." Start off by breathing normally and sit in a comfortable position. Every time your mind wanders off, say "re" "lax" aloud.
October 22nd, 2015 5:54pm
Try meditation. There are some helpful meditation apps in the App Store for android or Apple devices which will guide you starting out. Meditation is scientifically proven to help with stress and anxiety and will guide you in the process of clearing your thoughts.
October 22nd, 2015 11:18pm
I personally like to listen to calming music and i close my eyes and i just don't think, and if any negative thoughts come to me, i think of stuff that makes me happier. It's hard to stop thinking sometimes but you just need to welcome positive thoughts rather than negative ones.
October 24th, 2015 1:26am
I believe that in order to manage our thoughts we should focus on our breathing through meditation. We can also write down the thoughts that are bothering us, and read them to ourselves... By doing this we're able to digest what we're feeling, and "shut" our brain off in a way.
October 24th, 2015 2:35pm
Sing. Just sing your favorite song (bonus points for playing an instrument) or even memorize a poem and act it out as dramatically as possible. If you don't like the sound of your own voice: listen to intense classical music and pretend you are the maestro (bonus points for standing).
October 25th, 2015 3:05am
There isn't really a way to shut off your brain, you're brain automatically thinks honestly, even while your asleep, your brain isn't really asleep, it's still at work.
October 25th, 2015 12:46pm
Distraction is key! Through meditation, jogging or even reading a book distraction is one of the best ways to stop thinking. :)
October 25th, 2015 10:06pm
A nice vacation. If that's not possible then I suggest perhaps taking time out alone , simply a bath or a long walk to clear the mind and connect with your inner self.
October 25th, 2015 10:18pm
No one can stop thinking, but we can refocus and slow down our thoughts. One of the best ways that I've found to do that is to listen to holographic nature sounds. Just by listening and visualizing you can refocus your mind and give it a break. Visual meditation can also help, as well as anything that breaks the cycle of thought, like going outside etc.