Breaking the Cycle: How to Regain Control over Racing Thoughts - Episode 11

Do you ever feel like your mind is running 100 miles per minute? Racing thoughts can manifest as repetitive fixations or aimlessly bouncing between various topics. Let’s explore a few helpful strategies to manage racing thoughts, which are often associated with anxiety. Here are five strategies from Matthew Solan with Harvard Health to break the cycle of anxiety and put your mind at ease:

Give yourself permission: Recognize that racing thoughts are a normal occurrence and acknowledge that they don't define you. Put a little distance between yourself and your overactive mind. By putting racing thoughts into perspective, they become less threatening and easier to manage.

Practice mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness techniques such as counting your breath. This simple exercise can help slowly and steadily to redirect your focus and calm your mind: “Close your eyes and count to yourself as you take slow, steady breaths: count one on the inhale, two on the exhale, etc. When you reach 10, start over and repeat the process until you calm down.” By practicing this breath work regularly at times when your mind is calm, you will have this skill in your toolkit when you need it most.

Distract yourself: When you catch yourself spiraling into repetitive thoughts, consciously divert your attention to something else. Engage in activities like reading, listening to music, or calling a friend. By consciously choosing a different focus, you can break the cycle of racing thoughts.

Get active: Physical exercise can help alleviate anxiety and racing thoughts. When your mind starts ruminating, get up and do some brief physical activity like push-ups, walking, or household chores. 

Schedule worry time: Try designating a specific time for addressing your racing thoughts. When they arise, acknowledge them but postpone diving into them until the scheduled time. During this allocated period, write down your thoughts or discuss them aloud. Setting a time limit ensures that racing thoughts don't dominate your day and allows you to confront them on your terms.

If racing thoughts persistently impact your life or disrupt your sleep, it's advisable to seek professional help. Frequent racing thoughts could be connected to anxiety disorders, ADHD, OCD, trauma, or other mental health conditions that may require further exploration and support from a healthcare professional.


Solan, M. (2023). Slowing down racing thoughts. Retrieved from