How to Slow Down Your Fast Mind

If focusing on just one thought at a time is difficult for you, you are not alone! I recently conducted a survey to find out what challenges people with ADHD were facing and this topic came up more than once.

"How do I slow my racing brain?"

“I am exhausted because my mind never shuts down!"

“I always have so much on my mind and I constantly feel like I am forgetting something."

Dr. Edward Hallowell says it best, "ADHD is like having a Ferrari race car as a brain with bicycle brakes!” The goal is to try and figure out how we can strengthen those breaks!

Here are a few things to consider when you need a break from all of that thinking:

1) Pay attention to your body - My guess is there are times when your brain is racing faster than other times. Pay attention to when this happens and take an inventory of your self-care for the day. Do you need to eat? Are you dehydrated? Did you take your medication? Do you need to get up from your desk or whatever it is your doing and take a little break? There is no doubt that good, consistent self-care will help you stay focus and not feel so scattered. Make any necessary changes you need to get back on track. 

2) Don’t forget to breathe - Too often when we get anxious, we just go through the motions of daily life. One of the ways to stay centered is to pay attention to your breathing. Stop and take five long, deep breaths. Focus on your inhale and then your exhale. Slow, deep breathing has been proven to calm the body's fight or flight response and calm you down. And better yet, if you can, take these deep breaths outside in nature. Getting a change of scenery and some fresh air can go a long way!

3) Write down your thoughts - Recently I suggested that you keep a pen and a pad of paper next to your bed to capture any random thoughts you may have in the middle of the night. This is a great strategy for your racing brain, especially at night when you fear that you will forget everything in the morning. At least by documenting your thoughts, you get them out of your head and onto paper. You don’t have to rely on your memory and this method will help free your brain up.

4) Don’t forget to take a break - Sometimes the best thing you can do for a racing brain is to take a break from whatever it is you are doing. Go do something fun, do something that stimulates your brain in a positive way. Have you ever noticed that if you work on a crossword puzzle for too long you can’t figure out the words? Then you take a break and when you come back later, you have them all figured out. Sometimes you just have to walk away to slow down and get clarity! 

5) Mindfulness - If you haven’t had a chance to listen to my interview with Casey Dixon, I recommend you do so. Being present and living in the moment can help you relax. It takes some practice, but you can do it and the benefits are life changing. The great thing about mindfulness and ADHD is you can be aware of your thoughts, but without judgement. There is great power in only thinking about what is happening right now. 

What about you? What have you found to be helpful when your mind starts racing? I would love to share it with the rest of the community, please feel free to leave a comment or call 503-664-4ADD. 

Until Next Time, 

Nikki