Is your racing mind robbing you of your peace and serenity, and destroying the harmony in your relationships?
Do you ever find it difficult to slow down your mind?
A racing mind can be a serious problem. It can lead to agitation and irritability and we loose control over our mind.
An agitated mind leads to stress and a whole host of health problems, such as digestive problems, high blood pressure and heart disease, headaches. It even disrupts our relationships and sleep.
Most people think that since they have a racing mind they cannot meditate or practice mindfulness. Not true!
No matter how fast your mind is racing, you can learn how to cultivate a calm and serene mind. But you have to be willing to take some time to practice mindfulness
There are four main sources of mental agitation: 1) Too many commitments (checking messages constantly), 2) background noise ( TV, radio, environmental noise), 3) traumatic memories, and 4) worrying. There are short-term solutions for dealing with too many commitments and background noise. Painful memories and worrying will take more time to overcome, but they will resolve themselves through a regular meditation practice.
Most of us are unaware that our daily activities are the primary sources of our mental agitation. Once we become aware of these sources, we can do something about them. So when people ask how to stop their minds from racing, I tell them to start by being more mindful.
Some of us have too many commitments in our lives. Every waking moment of our day is packed with activities, and we never have time to rest. We think productivity gives us a sense of accomplishment and purpose. The problem with having too many commitments is that all the activities agitate our minds so much that it becomes increasingly harder to slow it down. This makes it harder to think clearly, therefore, lowering our effectiveness and productivity.
To address this problem, I suggest making a list of all your activities and commitments, including meditation. Remember that your spiritual development is important to your family’s happiness, because it will enable you to truly be there for them. Then prioritize your commitments according to how much they contribute to your and your family’s happiness, and give up the least important ones to make time for your personal needs, such as rest and meditation.
With many of our commitments, we don’t have a choice in the short-run. We can’t quit our jobs or abandon our families, but we can consider more carefully what we truly need to survive and be happy. With mindfulness, we can become more aware of irritants, determine the real sources of happiness, and strive to incorporate them into our lives.
A Solution: Mindful Breathing
Mindful breathing is a simple tool for keeping your mind from racing out of control. Practicing mindful breathing will interrupt the racing of your mind, enable you to think with greater clarity, and lead to less mental agitation.
All you have to do is stop occasionally and take five to 10 mindful breaths. Just focus on your natural breathing. Then you can move on to sitting, standing, and walking meditation or a complete body scan.
Practicing mindfulness will increase our aware of the sources of our agitation, we can take measures to eliminate them.
To reduce some of the activities that are over-stimulating your mind, you can make a list of them and prioritize them according to how much they truly contribute to your and your family’s happiness and well-being. Then eliminate those activities that have low priority. When you incorporate mindful breathing and mindful living into your daily activities, your life will become much more enjoyable for you and your loved ones. This will stop your mental agitation that is robbing you of your peace and serenity, and the harmony in your relationships.
Gabriele Schorb-Machado is a Licensed Professional Counselor practicing in New Jersey. She earned her Masters degree in Psychology from West Chester University in 1986. She has been working in the capacity of teacher, therapist, and program manager with individual of all ages, and socio economic and cultural backgrounds. Currently she has a private practice in Moorestown, NJ.