There is a time and place for us to utilize our analytic minds and allow it to run wild. There is also a time to put the brakes on that sucker. More inner peace can enter into our lives when we learn how to put a muzzle on our minds in order to manage our thoughts so they don’t control us. It’s a fine balance and “an art” to learn how to do this. We all have are own unique balance of mind control vs. racing thoughts, which molds the perceptions that we have. Some of us struggle with a racing mind where thoughts dominate our moods and dictate are actions more than others.
My racing mind has been an aspect of myself that I have had to get a handle on for my own well being. Following a major heartbreak of a long term boyfriend when I was in my mid twenties, my racing mind tortured me with out of control thoughts. I describe this time and event to others as one of the most emotionally difficult situations I’ve had to overcome for a couple reasons. One, for the obvious matter of my first major broken heart from someone I loved and the other because of my nutty and out of control ways of thinking that intensified the pain more than necessary. In a nutshell, I created more torture for myself than necessary because I didn't have a grip on how to quiet my mind.
Racing, out of control thoughts have to gain momentum and speed in order to get to the point where they are beyond feeling manageable. Identifying the “warning signs” that occur before you enter into the state where you feel panicked, uncomfortable and, ultimately, out of control will help you get a hold of your anxiety. In gaining awareness around what happens when we begin to feel triggered and become panicked is the exact point where we can change our reality. We are going to feel a range of emotions from life. That's a given. The goal is not to numb out or avoid our feelings. The goal is to learn how to cope and manage our emotions as they come up so we can flow through life and it’s challenges with more ease and grace. Learning about our own personal red flags can allow us to help ourselves. Awareness of our red flags is huge. If you can’t seem to wrap your head around what your triggers are, reach out for help. Perhaps a trusted source outside of you can help shed some light on what leads you toward a jumbled and frazzled mind.
A helpful grounding force used to manage anxiety, worry and racing thoughts is to practice being in the present. (How cliche, right?) Being present enables you to catch yourself when you go into your own self created “what if” situations. Focus on fact instead of a story that you are using to freak yourself out. (For the record: “What if” anything is not a fact based way to think.) I can’t tell you how often I have clients in my office whose worry and anxiety are elevated because of self created stories of fears they think “might” happen. I actually can confidently say that I, rarely if ever, have had a client come in where their biggest fear actually occurred in reality. To go further, if a fear of theirs did come to life, it was never as painful and scary as they created it to be in their minds. (Note to self: Your biggest fear usually does NOT come true.)
Be mindful about focusing on what "IS" happening, not what “MIGHT” happen. Anything “might” happen and when you spend your time and energy worrying about the “what if’s,” you’re signing up for unnecessary worry.
I’m going to wrap this up with a phrase I heard, Singer/Songwriter, Pharrell Williams say.
I interpreted this statement as a reminder to spend more time being present in your life experiencing what is actually occurring rather than being trapped in your personally created nightmare. Focus on feeling. Learn to quiet your mind and focus on the FEELING part of you. I challenge you to this. Practice feeling your way through situations instead of being lost in your own head and analyzing details to death. Stop the noise of your mind with awareness.
Regardless of how noisy your mind is currently, you CAN overcome anxiety and learn how to get control of your thoughts.
You got this.
* This image was taken at the Sand Dunes in Glamis, California by Renata Amazonas, San Diego based photographer.