How can I stop thinking and shut my brain off?
Last Updated: 10/04/2019 at 4:46am
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
By doing some of your favourite work. It could be anything like your hobby or any sport or anything which soothes you. When you do your favourite things you forget every bad thing including the over thinking.
I've found that progressive relaxation techniques are the simplest way to zone out/turn off my brain for a little while.
You can try and distract yourself. You can do something new or read a book or watch a movie, you can even play video games. It can help get your mind off things
Speaking practically it is impossible to stop thinking but one thing that you can do is meditate. while it won't stop the thought process, it will surely help in maintaining peace inside your mind and in a very less time or let's just say in a matter of weeks you will only think what you want to think. Meditation also brings changes in your personal life as you get clarity of thoughts and it also rejuvenates you. I think it is the best thing that one can do to deal with internal conflicts.
I often have a racing mind either during the day or when I want to go to sleep. When I become aware of my breathing and the counting, I slow down on following the racing thoughts and start being more aware of my breathing. Here are the simple instructions: While breathing naturally, silently count one on the inhale. One on the exhale, two on the inhale, two on the exhale...continuing up to 10. Then start at one again. Allow the breath to be naturally but belly breathing can be more relaxing if that is natural.
Find something that you love to do, whether it be gaming, reading, writing or a sport. Something to distract you from thinking,
When I can't stop thinking or shut my brain off, I like to listen to relaxing music, and then go for a little walk.
Distractions are a key way to divert your thoughts and keeping your brain busy. However, you cannot 'shut your brain off' as much as you want to do. You can relax the brain and allow yourself sometime to think by many different techniques such as mindfulness, exercise and just talking to someone.
We all have those days when our head is filled with so many different thoughts that everything is so overwhelming that we can't even think straight anymore. There are many different strategies that work for different situations. Although these strategies don't 'shut your brain off' (you will still be thinking), it helps me overcome my overwhelming thoughts. I personally believe the best strategy is to calm down and acknowledge your thoughts. Stop resisting them, but simply let them leave on their own. This may sounds silly, but if you relax, it does get better. Meditating is another common answer. Whether is it concentrating on one particular item, or focusing on your breathing, meditation comes in many different forms. Another strategy is to enjoy one of your hobbies. For me, listening to music is claming and reading a novel helps distracts my thoughts. I also have friends that exercise and does physical activity to distract themselves.
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