Racing Thoughts and Stress Relief Technique
As I sit at my desk writing this entry, I noticed today that it was extremely difficult to minimize the racing thoughts throughout my head. This lead me to wonder how many other individuals suffer from this aspect of PTSD and how many people will benefit from reading about stress relief techniques.
Everything is racing at 100 MPH, meanwhile, someone notices you staring off to space, starts repeatedly calling your name until you finally come back to the current altruistic reality of your current state of being. Not knowing what to say, or what you were even thinking about three seconds ago, you calmly carry on, eating your meal, creating small talk to assure the company you are with will not think you are spacing out and not paying attention to them.
This is all to common for Trauma Survivors, even more so, people in general who are experiencing high levels of stress in their day to day life. Without trauma, human beings can easily add to their worrisome thoughts. Money, kids, buying groceries, finishing that project for work, staying on top of those fitness goals, settling an argument between family members…. The list goes on and on…
The question here is what can we do to minimize the overwhelming feeling of life that is going on all around us?
How can we stop tumbling around with the world, fighting, resisting, shoving our way through each problem or situation we face?
The truth is, there is not an easy, cookie cutter answer for this problem the majority of human’s experience at some point in their lives. With that being said, here are a few suggestions to help minimize stress, and address the chaotic moments we all encounter.
The controllable and uncontrollable list.
Often times we stress about things that we cannot control. We induce anxiety by attempting to control what we are realistically unable to. This is a flaw that many of us encounter because it is in our nature to be in control of our environment and everything that we can possibly be in control of. When we find ourselves unable to control something, our brain starts shooting off fireworks of adrenaline, and other chemicals that cause our minds to start racing.
By simply listing out all of your current problems and following that list up by circling things that you can surly control and crossing off the items that you cannot control, you will be able to manage your problems, reduce anxiety and stop the racing thoughts.
Remember, Part of separating this list out is to LET GO of what you CANNOT control! (This is essential)
Check out the study results with controllable and uncontrollable stress here https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.144.11.1419
Make an Action Plan!
Now it is all about scheduling and goal setting.
Take your list of controllable factors. Itemize them into a list by how important they are to you. The first one being the most important and the last one being the least important. Start with the first problem. Let’s use an example.
- Need to buy groceries-
(Pick a day and time in which to accomplish this task)
1a. Write your grocery list-
Apples, Eggs, Bread, Milk…. And so on…
Now move on to the next controllable problem and implement the same structure. Choose a day, and time. Do the homework that is required to help you succeed. For example, If it is dealing with a bill that needs to be paid, write down who to call and what their number is and all your account information you will need for the phone call. You are in the process of setting yourself up for an easy transition between controllable problems or stress.
Check out this article on Goal setting for more help!
The POWER OF THE PAUSE!
That’s right….. Just STOP everything you are doing for five minutes.
Center yourself by taking a deep breath. Slowly breathe in for a ten second count and breath out for a 20 second count. Continue breathing until a lower heart rate is achieved.
Know that you can do this step at any point in the process. and you can repeat this as many times as you want to! It really helps minimize the racing thoughts.
It is known that by slowing your breath down your heart rate decreases. This allows oxygen to fill the body and provide relaxation to your muscles and brain. This can be difficult to do in the moment, however, If you are able to, remember, just BREATHE!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and would love to hear from you all in the comments below. Let us know what works for you. Share your story! Share your struggles and most definitely share your success. We are here to support you in your healing journey and are ready to provide individual coaching if you would like to have more hands-on help!
Find our coaching services here—- https://helpmeptsd.org/coaching/