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Are you a slave to your thoughts? Learn to calm an anxious mind

Brain spirals. Anxious mind. Ever have that experience where you’re trying to sleep and find yourself thinking over and over again about the same things? Before you know it, an hour or two has passed. Or maybe you’re bored in class and by the time you leave you find yourself down in the dumps after daydreaming all class about your “not enough-ness?”

Our thoughts can have a great impact on our mood, energy and stress levels. If we’re not paying attention, they can creep in. Watch your self esteem and self worth plummet in a matter of minutes, or even seconds. Sometimes all it takes is one thought to turn a perfectly good mood to an epic struggle.

We all experience brain spirals and we all have an inner critic. They key is learning to be mindful, pay attention to what’s going on up there and course correct as often as possible (without judging ourselves along the way).

When you find yourself spiraling into self hatred, self doubt or not enoughness, try out these quick tricks that may help you get back on track just a little bit faster.

  1. Fact Check Your Spirals
    1. When you notice that your mind has wandered, think about what you’re saying to yourself. Is it actually true? Is this a fact? How can you know for sure? Often times what we tell ourselves when our minds wander, is untrue or at the very least, uncertain. For example, if you’re feeling particularly discouraged after not getting a job you really wanted, you might find that your mind wanders to “I suck” or “I’m never going to be successful.” Fact check yourself. Are these statements actually true? If not, what can you replace them with that might be more helpful?
  2. Try a Grounding Exercise
    1. When we get caught in our brain spirals, we’re often living in the future or the past and we totally lose sight of what’s currently happening in the moment. Grounding exercises are meant to bring you back to the present moment. Try identifying one thing associated with each of your 5 senses. Right now:
      1. What do you hear?
      2. What do you see?
      3. What can you taste
      4. What do you smell?
      5. What are you touching?
  1. Trust your Gut and Intuition
    1. Our bodies and minds do a lot to communicate with us. Often times, our brain may get in the way of what our hearts are trying to tell us. Have a funny feeling in your belly or notice some tension in your back? Pay attention to it. Send some love to it and try to tune in. We like to numb out and push off uncomfortable experiences and emotions. By doing the opposite, by tuning in, we grow to understand our bodies more which leads to growing the trust we have with ourselves. This relationship of trust with your gut and intuition is so important and can help to get rid of some of the brain spirals that leave you warped in fear.

So many of us experience anxiety and brain spirals regularly. Learning how to intercept or simply weaken the power they hold over you after the fact can help eliminate a lot of stress you’re feeling. Here’s to better moods, more energy & learning to love every piece of you (imperfection and all)!

Picture of Chelsea Connors

Chelsea Connors