Does mindfulness help with racing thoughts?

Do the racing thoughts keep you awake at night? Do you dwell on the past and the future too often? Do your verbal and physical deeds easily change according to your thinking pattern?

Mind is like a bubble machine that produces thoughts in every split of a second. A new study has found an average person gets more than 6000 thoughts per day. Luckily, not every thought catches our attention.

However, racing thoughts can be problematic if it takes too much of your time or if you are disturbed by those thoughts. We will discuss how mindfulness can help you managing racing thoughts in your mind.

What is a racing thought?

Racing thought is something that comes to mind repetitively. Also, multiple thoughts can arise randomly disturbing the peace of your mind. One may get a racing thought about the workplace, financial issues, and relationship problems, etc.

What causes racing thoughts?

According to medical sources, racing thoughts are a result of health conditions such as; Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Bipolar disorder, depression, etc. You should seek a medical opinion if you experience racing thoughts on a regular basis disturbing your sleep.

How does a racing thought affect you?

  • When there are racing thoughts in your mind, the mind cannot relax
  • You cannot sleep well at night
  • Racing thoughts can change your mood negatively.
  • You cannot concentrate on one thing
  • You cannot live in the present moment
  • If this happens for a period of time, you will get serious problems such as anxiety and depression
  • Racing thoughts can affect your relationship status and work-life

What is the connection between a thought and an emotion?

Thoughts just arise and pass away. We are not aware of all the thoughts that arise in our minds unless we reflect on them. As we reflect on a thought, there is an emotional part to it.

For example, when we think about someone dear to us our mind fills with love and affection. On the other hand, negativity can arise in the mind if we think about a difficult person. Anger, hatred, and jealousy are some of the negative thoughts that can generate as a result of negative thinking.

The problem with racing thoughts is usually they are connected with negative emotions. As a result, the mind becomes restless and clumsy. Therefore, as soon as a thought arises in your mind, it is important to identify the underlying emotion.

How can you calm your mind from racing thoughts?

Breathing meditation before bed:

Breathing meditation is one of the best ways to make your mind calm and relaxed. Breathing takes place automatically and we are not aware of the magical power of the breath when used as a tool to relax the mind.

Make sure to find a quiet spot to practice breathing meditation. Use some cushions on the floor to sit comfortably. If you wish, you can light up a lavender candle because lavender adds the extra benefit of creating a soothing and relaxing environment.

Keep your eyes closed and your hands on your lap.

First, take a few deep breaths to relax. Notice how it starts to enter through nostrils, passes through your chest, and then goes to the stomach area. As you start breathing out, your stomach starts to fall first, then you feel the outgoing breath in the chest and then it slowly goes out through your nostrils.

Likewise, when you breathe in notice that. When you breathe out, notice that.

When the mind wanders away, bring your mind back to the breath.

Repeat this method a few times for a few days. You will feel the power of your thoughts is losing. Also, you will be able to sleep well.

For more details, read Meditation before bedtime: The perfect way for relaxed mind & body

Walking meditation

Walking meditation is also a well-known method to battle the racing thoughts.

Select a suitable area, preferably in the nature to walk back and forth.

Demarcate a starting point and a turnaround point because you will be walking only within this demarcated area.

Once you are ready, start with your right foot first. Lift it slowly, move it forward and then keep it on the floor attentively. Repeat the same with the left foot. Follow this method until you reach the turnaround point. Once you reach there, turn around, stand still for a moment and start walking back until you reach the starting point.

Pay a thorough attention on walking. Do not allow the mind to wander away.

Walk attentively for about 15 minutes at a stretch. You will find the speed of the racing thoughts has become slow at the end of the session.

For more details, read Walking MedWalking Meditation for Beginners: Tips to start

Notice rising and falling of the stomach

One of the best methods to fall asleep fast is to notice how the stomach rise and fall as you lay down.

First, lay down in your bed facing upward. Keep your palm on the stomach and feel how the stomach rises when you breathe in and how it falls as you breathe out.

You will start feeling relaxed and fall asleep immediately.

There are some other methods to reduce racing thoughts such as listening to soft music, going for a walk in nature, using medication, etc. If you have a health condition connected to racing thoughts, it is advisable to see a doctor. The above is a natural way to handle racing thoughts.

Final Note

On a final note, remember to keep all digitals before bed well ahead of bedtime. Make sure to make yourself relaxed and prepared for a good sleep. Leave all your worries behind because it is the time to relax your body as well as the mind. Make sure to get enough sleep. Racing thoughts is a condition you can manage with effective techniques.

Photo by Blake Church on Unsplash


Rathsara (Sara) is an attorney-at-law who holds a Diploma in Buddhist Studies in ITBMU. She has engaged in community service in Sri Lanka and the United States helping many individuals. She is interested in reading, writing, and researching areas related to mindfulness. Inspired by spiritually developed individuals around the globe, Rathsara is keen to learn and practice mind-developing techniques. In the meantime, she would like to share her experience and knowledge for the well-being of others.

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