Racing thoughts are a common occurrence for people with anxiety. They can happen at any time, even if you’re not aware of being particularly anxious or stressed. Sometimes, they are replays of an experience that was stressful. Other times, they’re the “what if’s” – those worries of what might happen in the future. If you’ve experienced these spiraling thoughts, you know they can be annoying and sometimes downright disruptive. Atlanta anxiety counseling can assist with this.
The good news is there are techniques that can help you get these thoughts under control. If your thoughts are spiraling, here are the top quick tips from our Atlanta anxiety counseling group to help you get control of your anxiety.
Use A Mantra
A mantra is a word or simple phrase that you repeat to focus and calm your mind. A mantra works by calming the area of the brain responsible for replaying the past and worrying about the future. Choose a word or phrase that you find soothing. Examples might be, “relax” or “it’s ok” or something similar. The best thing about a mantra is you can use it anytime, anywhere, and no one has to know you’re using it.
Write It Down
The simple act of writing relaxes and engages your mind, reducing the spinning thoughts. Those thoughts feel all jumbled up. Writing them down lets you organize and sort through them or set them aside for later, which is something our Atlanta anxiety counseling group encourages people to do often. Writing down your thoughts symbolically gives you permission to release them and set them aside. You can come back to them later when you feel calmer and more in control.
You’ve probably noticed that when your anxiety increases, your heart beats a little faster and your breathing is quicker. That’s your “fight or flight” response courtesy of your sympathetic nervous system. We know that if you can shift to the more relaxed parasympathetic nervous system, you can slow your physiological responses and, in turn, you can slow your racing mind. An easy way to do this is to use controlled breathing. There are lots of different cadences but simple deep, slow breaths in and out can work well too. As you breathe, focus on your breath sounds and the sensation. If your thoughts stray, gently return your focus to your breathing.
These techniques take a little practice but each is a great tool for the anxiety management toolbox.