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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
October 28th, 2015 9:13am
When we find ourselfs overwhelmed by our thoughts, Try turning off everything and sleep or listen to music.
October 28th, 2015 3:03pm
Yoga!!! I never thought I'd enjoy yoga but it makes you feel so good and completely switches you're brain off,fit star yoga is great app
October 29th, 2015 1:49am
The best way is to meditate. Throw on nature sounds! There are awesome videos on how to meditate and close your mind for just even a few minutes !
October 29th, 2015 8:26am
Your brain never shuts off, but if you are having thoughts you wish to not have, try talking about them, or writing them down in a journal. Some people write journal entries to clear their mind, then throw the entry away immediately after writing it.
October 29th, 2015 3:41pm
Thinking is a great thing but sometimes it's good to take a break! So how ? Excercising is an awesome way to clear your mind and make goals in the process!
October 29th, 2015 9:36pm
I suggest listening to some calm and relaxing music. Or do something you love like reading, running, exercising, etc.. Also try getting some rest.
October 31st, 2015 1:19am
It's impossible to stop thinking, but a good exercise to do before going to sleep or wanting to clear your mind is doing a simple breath in for 10 seconds slowly, raising your hands as in you are lifting a place (if that is something your lungs will not allow, change to 5) then turn your hands and breath out for the number you chose as you lower your hands, as if you are pushing blankets down to compact it into a smaller space :)
October 31st, 2015 1:25am
Why do you want to stop thinking? Are these the same thoughts that repeat? What are they? Perhaps, going for walks or breathing exercises can help but it is important to undrstand why you want to 'switch off your brain'
October 31st, 2015 10:41pm
Spending time in nature can be a great way to stop thinking, but there's a catch- you can't bring your phone or any other distractions. In other words, focus on what's directly in front of you.
November 1st, 2015 10:22pm
I would highly recommend the meditation audio here at 7cups. They can help you get to sleep and/or empty your mind of troubling thoughts to reach total calm.
November 4th, 2015 12:58pm
I'm afraid you'll have to shut your brain off first, in order to stop thinking. but you will have to think in order to do that, so this is a real conundrum. To simplify the problem, just pull the plug as they say. If you can reach the plug from within the iron lung, that is.
November 5th, 2015 2:21am
Try listening to nature sounds, close your eyes and just relax! If any unwanted thoughts appear, push them away!
November 5th, 2015 4:37am
I find the best way to do this is look around me and spot colours - so, pick a colour (say green) and look around until you've found everything green in the room. Then choose another colour. Soon, your mind is off whatever you were thinking about.
November 5th, 2015 6:07pm
I find the best environment for me to do this is not a completely silent one. When I seek emptying my mind, I usually do it outside. I find that nature and her sounds are comforting and help to clear away bad thoughts by focusing on them.
November 6th, 2015 2:10am
For me listening to music seems to keep my mind off of things. Watching tv-shows or playing videogames do as well. In general try doing something that you enjoy!
November 6th, 2015 4:32am
Try to focus on something positive, or engage in a very demanding activity for your brain, such as word puzzles, sudoku, learning a language... something that can take your full attention! it works for me , I am currently studying 5 different languages! It works miracles
November 6th, 2015 6:57pm
while there is no 'button to push' to deactivate our thoughts, of course we can create the right associations to help you. the things you do will have a dramatic effect on how you feel; perhaps listening to calming music, and being in a peaceful area with minimal distractions would probably help you! Moments of extended silence allows the brain to start overthinking, so fill up your time with something that will distract you! :)
November 7th, 2015 6:38pm
You must be stressed. Take one thing at a time. Nothing can be too bad. Life has so much more to offer.
November 8th, 2015 4:34pm
Try to Keep it busy, indulge in something else that may interest you and say "All is Well"! That might help at times. :)
November 12th, 2015 6:48am
It can be frustrating when we feel that we have things that so urgently need resolution that we can't be bothered to let our mind go until they are resolved. But let me tell you something about what happens when you sleep. When you sleep, your brain takes all the experiences you've had during the day and compiles them, and compares them to all the other experiences you've had in your life. It mashes them all up and sorts through them. And in this way, of making connections between all your past and present experiences, your my synthesizes your experience into the "whole you" that is your brain. By allowing yourself to sleep, you allow this important process to take place. As for how to do it, it can take practice. But there are some techniques you can use. One I like is where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 8, then breathe out for 7. Then repeat. This can help relax you and ease your mind into a state of restfulness. Another technique is to simply "have a talk" with your mind. Thank it for all it's done for you today, and ask it to please continue to work on your troubles as you fall asleep. Then, you can fall asleep knowing that your mind is still working for you, and helping you, and that you may wake up in the morning with a greater understanding of whatever problems you might have faced the previous day.
November 14th, 2015 6:20pm
I don't think you can completely shut your brain off, haha. But when I overthink sometimes, I practice being mindful and in the present. I meditate and try to relax as much as I can. If you don't know how to meditate on your own, you can find helpful guided meditations online!
November 15th, 2015 6:58am
Sometimes a good distraction can help, Other times writing all your problems down that are haunting your mind. That way you can see and it makes it all a little more real and easier to understand and get over.
November 15th, 2015 8:02pm
This is physically impossible to do, usually sleep does this because you are no longer thinking or using it
November 18th, 2015 1:17am
Take a deep breath walk away from distractions, and do something you enjoy! Because if you think too hard about turning off your brain, you'll find yourself achieving the opposite.
November 18th, 2015 1:18am
Typically when you need to shut your brain off you can just reduce stimulation. Go somewhere quiet and dark. Play some instrumental music if you think it will help. It's different for everyone because our brains are all wired a little differently.
November 18th, 2015 6:47pm
This is a tough question. For me, practicing Mindfulness daily helps me to remove the chaos of thoughts from my mind for a little while. Similar to meditation, it is quite useful in centering oneself.
November 19th, 2015 2:02am
Move the body, walk it out or talk to someone. Rumenating is often a good sign. To take time out and rest.
November 20th, 2015 4:29am
Some things that have worked for me: 1. Close your eyes and instead of fighting it, let every thought that comes to mind come and go, it is a good way for your stress levels to diminish instead of increasing them by the pressure of wanting to shut it off, which usually brings more thoughts to the surface. 2. Learn meditation techniques, a good way to start if meditating seems like too much work is to settle simple goals, take 5 minutes during your day to pause, breathe and concentrate on "blanking" your mind and concentrate only on your breathing, in time it will come naturally for longer periods of time 3. Write every single thought that comes to mind, specially things that are really bothering you at the moment, when you finish make time to meditate.
November 20th, 2015 1:29pm
Try doing something you like or enjoy. If you like drawing, pick up that pencil! If this is a problem that is consistingly bothering you, try something like meditation or mindfullness. It helps you clear your mind. Don't get frustrated when you can't 'stop thinking' immediately, this is hard for everyone and isn't easy at all.
November 21st, 2015 2:07am
Directed meditation can be very helpful to shutting your brain off. There are a number of videos on youtube or even other sites that can be very helpful. Even here, 7cups, has their own guided meditations!