How do I stop over thinking at night?
Last Updated: 03/17/2021 at 5:20pm
Jamitia Wilson, MS, LAC
I believe that true healing occurs when one is able to honestly express how one feels about himself/herself and the world. I would be honored to support your healing change.
Top Rated Answers
Try to distract your mind. you can read a book before going to sleep or you can watch something delightful to freshen up your mood. Then try to sleep, follow a routine like this,it will help slowly.
To stop over thinking at night, I find it so helpful to set a night time routine and follow it daily. Giving myself a routine helps me focus on my own wellbeing rather than whatever else is bothering me. Two things that really help ease over thinking at night time are journalling and meditation. Journalling is perfect for getting out all of your stresses and worries, allowing you to better think through your feelings. Once you right down everything you're feeling in a journal, I find it to be relieving, those negative thoughts out of my mind and only existing in the journal. Meditation works in a similar way. Meditating before bed allows you to process and let go of whatever is bothering you, focusing on calmness and serenity. Guided meditation really helps to ground yourself and your thoughts, making you less likely to become overwhelmed by your thoughts throughout the night.
I think it would be helpful to create a schedule that you follow at night. This way you get your body used to knowing that at a certain time or when you start doing certain things it's time to go to sleep. Also, it might be helpful to write out your thoughts. You could write out your thoughts using paper and pencil. You could write in a journal that you keep by your bed, or on random pieces of trash/scratch paper. You could also try just typing out your thoughts on your computer or phone. You could do this by using your notes app, writing in a word processor, texting/emailing yourself (or keeping it in the drafts section), etc.
I use grounding exercises to reorient myself to the present, like 54321, i.e., five things I can see, four things I can feel, three things I can hear, two things I can smell, one thing I can taste. Then I breath in and out slowly, expanding my stomach (not my chest) and making the exhale longer. This helps me almost every time. I also make a point to "schedule" my worrying. I make lists and problem-solve twice a day--once in the morning and once in the evening around dinner time--not too close to bedtime. When I feel myself dwelling too much, I remind myself of my schedule and that ruminating doesn't help me. These techniques help me almost all the time. I hope they can help you, too. :)
It is so normal to over think especially at night. I usually find myself overthinking at night the most and get a lot of anxiety because of it. Something that really helped me was meditating before sleeping. It really calms me down and it makes me more tired, so I sleep better too. Another thing that really helped me was journaling and writing down what I was over thinking about. When I have all my thoughts down on paper, it makes me feel more relaxed and my mind isn't flooded with thoughts. Listening to calming music while journaling and meditating really help too!
You can try deep breathing, muscle relaxation, counting, listening to music, reading, or any other skill to keep yourself busy! You could also try talking to a close friend, parent, coach, teacher, or other relative. Keeping yourself busy works as a distraction to keep your mind away from the negative, or unpleasant thoughts. Playing with a pet can also be helpful, and so is exercise. Exercise gets your heart pumping, blood flowing, and endorphins are released to help you feel more positive, energized, and motivated. You can also google some other ways to distract your mind and different ways to help you stay busy and focus on other things.
Start taking deep breaths when your mind diverts! Get the control over your breathe and relax. Start counting from 1-10 and concentrate the way your breathe goes, inhalation and exhalation process! Sometimes your mind diverts , try to get back and control the breathe. Think of the good times you had and happy memories you had, and things you always feel grateful for. Think of the good deeds you did for that day and think of the nice and warm people you have met. It helps to stop overthinking and make you fully focused on your sleep process. Stress is the main cause for the lack of sleep.
I was once told by the chair of the Dept. I was teaching in at the University something very wise. When I was overwhelmed with many thoughts one day, she looked me square in the eye and said "ya' know Marla, you have the right to tell those thoughts to just go away...and ya' know why...because they are just taking up space, and not paying rent. How true that is and I remember it every time I feel as though thoughts are just racing through my head, or I become overwhelmed, or find myself simply over analyzing the situation. And really, for me, it is helpful and works.
This has happened to me in the past. I usually do breathing exercises to try to stop thinking and relax. I like to listen to music or podcasts or watch movies or shows to distract myself. Background noise really helps me. I think about if my thoughts are rational or irrational because I tend to think about things that are irrelevant like our existence. I like to cook and bake because it is stress relieving. Hobbies are a great way to distract yourself from thinking too much.
Sometimes it can be difficult to put our minds to rest at night. It can feel like we are tired or ready to rest, but our minds just keep thinking, unable to stop or settle down. When this happens, it can help to close our eyes and try to clear our minds by focusing on our breath. Centering ourselves and focusing on the simple in-flow and out-flow of our breath can help to slow down those racing thoughts. If (or when) your mind starts to wander, just think back to your breath, and follow the in and out of your breath once more. The more practice you have with this, the easier it will become to set aside nagging thoughts and recommit to your breathing. This should help quiet your mind and make it easier to stop overthinking.
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