Frequently Asked Questions about Racing Thoughts

Racing thoughts are inconsistent, rapid thought patterns that we have little to no control over. Everything that pops into your mind feels spontaneous and so random you can’t make sense of any of it. Your mind is clearly still active; restless, even if your body is feeling otherwise. It gets easy to feel overwhelmed by it.

Sometimes, it’s a symptom of depression or anxiety, or even, both. It is entirely possible for the two psychological abnormalities to be a comorbidity of each other. The underlying root is the same: we hold onto negative expectations, and believe it to be inescapable.

But you’re not alone! It happens to everyone and at any moment in their lives. It’s just another one of life’s long series of solvable problems.

How long do racing thoughts last?

Short answer: There is no fixed answer. Racing thoughts often arise from situational factors and no two people experience the same circumstances in the same light.

Long answer: Racing thoughts often stem from excessive worrying or uncontrolled excitement. Until you could put your concerns to rest, there is no telling how long you’d find your mind racing. It does help if you could adjust to a more positive outlook on your situation.

Racing thoughts can intrude sleep. They can go on for an entire night and leave you exhausted without rest to operate the next day.

However, if you have been putting up with racing thoughts for 2 weeks or more, with no underlying explanation for its occurrence, it is highly suggested that you seek psychological, or medical attention.

How does one stop their thoughts from racing before bedtime?

Short answer: Our minds have a time-telling limitation. It can’t easily distinguish between the past and present. Our bodies will react to what we actively think of, regardless of the safety conditions of our current surroundings.

This is where staying grounded plays an important role. We need to exist in and be present.

Long answer: I want you to think of your favourite thing in the world; something you cherish. It could be a childhood toy, a painting you’ve made, a craft, or even a prayer. It doesn’t have to be with you or by your side in that moment before bed. You just need to have a vision of that thing and focus solely on it.

As you close your eyes, appreciate the thing for what it is and what it means to you. All that exists is just what’s between you and your comfort object. Once you begin to feel free of the anxiety and distress, slowly let go of that vision and allow yourself to disappear into your mind.

That’s all sleep really is; to be at peace.

Just avoid thinking about people or a song lyric because those things often come with questions. The last thing we’d want is to be in search for more answers. There is a time and place for that, so definitely not before bed.

Does keeping active during the day help?

Short answer: Yes, albeit only to an extent. As much as you can tire yourself physically, your mind may only feel more pumped to act up. Try engage in an activity that is vigorously active and alleviates stress.

Long answer: For starters, you could head out for a run while listening to some tunes. You’re burning up calories while also moving your spirit to the beat and rhythm of the music. Allow yourself to be in that specific moment, and everything that exists on your mind is what’s around you.

Make it a routine, too. Give yourself something to look forward to for the next day, and all the days to come in your foreseeable future. The sense of accomplishment in keeping active might also keep your mind more focused on being hopeful for more positive outcomes to happen in your life.

Should I pull an all-nighter?

Short answer: Why not? They’re fun and a good way for resetting your biological clock!

Long answer: However, you should bear in mind that sleep is merely one part of the problem caused by racing thoughts. It could happen at any time, even spanning throughout your day. Your anxieties may affect your daily functions, too.

It will be in your best interest to face the situation head on rather than to put it off to handle it at a much later time. Otherwise, it will continue to plague your peace of mind, interpersonal relationships, and your professional life.

The idea is to practice mindfulness and be present at every stage in your life. Understandably, it won’t come so easily. There’ll be a lot of trial-and-error involved, but rest assured, with the right methods, you could master mindfulness over time.

It’s soundly fine to sacrifice sleep once in a blue moon; just don’t let it be at the expense of sabotaging your waking hours on the following day. Do not do it frequently. That is a health hazard.

Do you have any other tips for keeping up positivity?

Short answer: Engage in escapism. Be warned: too much of it can prove disastrous effects, such as laziness and procrastinating tendencies. I do suppose we all deserve a little fantasy in our lives to help us detach from overwhelming realities, especially the ones we have no control in changing.

It’s important to keep things balanced.

Long answer: Go ahead and watch your favourite television programme, go to the theatres, grab a bite to eat, play that video game that’s been sitting on your bedroom shelf. You deserve that much of freedom. Let this not only be a practice of mindfulness, but also to have faith in handling your own responsibilities.

There is something subtle about rewarding ourselves with doing the things that make us happy. As much as you have your worries, why don’t you choose to be happy?

Show yourself that not all things are as bad as they seem to be. You are capable of finding ways to please yourself; to work out of despair. Try it. It’s all got to do with being present with what you currently have, and could do.


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