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5 Ways to Quiet Your Mind

Katelyn Hagerty

Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Published 02/24/2023

True story: we all have a lot going on. From work stress to maintaining a hectic personal life to thinking about your wants and needs (and the wants and needs of others), there’s tons of stuff running through your brain at all times. In other words, the mind chatter is real.

And when you have so many thoughts moving through your mind at warp speed, it can feel overwhelming and stressful. If any of this sounds familiar, learning how to quiet your mind and declutter your thoughts could be very valuable.

So, how do we do that?

When you’re exploring at how to quiet your mind, the goal isn’t to erase everything in your brain. 

Instead, the goal is to go from a racing mind to one that is moving at a reasonable pace. But before you learn how to do that, you need to understand what it even means to quiet your mind. 

Racing thoughts can happen for a variety of reasons. You may just be busy and have lots to remember and keep up with. Another possible cause might be something like anxiety.

When this happens, you may begin fixating on something that is making you anxious and then notice you start spiraling and having endless streams of thought around whatever it is that has kicked up your nerves.

Quieting your mind means stopping these racing thoughts so that you’re living in a more serene, calm space as much of the time as possible.

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Learning how to take a step back and quiet your mind when things are hectic (and even when they’re not) can be a valuable tool. If your brain is always humming, it can affect you in many different, very real ways.

Insomnia is a common side effect of a noisy brain. Research has found that racing thoughts close to bedtime can make it hard for people to fall asleep. And not getting enough sleep can actually amplify some of the symptoms of anxiety, so you wind up in an endless cycle of nervousness and mental disruption. 

Being stressed all the time by a mind that doesn’t rest can also impact your overall health and deplete your energy. It can also prevent you from seeing the bigger picture because you’re so focused on what’s going on in your mind. 

Finally, you should focus on quieting your mind because it will just make your life more enjoyable. It may sound obvious, but it’s worth the reminder — living in a state of serenity is so much more pleasant than having anxious thoughts flooding your system. 

Sometimes you just need to tell your brain to take a chill pill. You may not be able to actually do that, but there are techniques you can try that will teach you how to quiet your mind.

If racing thoughts is really making it tough to live calmly, it’s a good idea to consult with a mental health professional. They will be able to help guide you on how to quiet your mind. 

Here are some of the things they may suggest. 

Learn to Meditate

You may want to consider taking up a meditation practice. After all, the whole point of mindfulness meditation is to focus on the task at hand and to eliminate the mental noise. 

One of the goals of meditation is to hopefully relieve some of the symptoms and side effects of issues like stress and anxiety — which are two common concerns with cognitive disruption. Researchers at John Hopkins University reviewed 47 randomized clinical trials and found that meditation can help to lower anxiety and stress. 

Another study found that 20 minutes of mindful meditation can lower overall brain activity — something that would be very helpful if your mind is racing. 

To start your meditation practice, there are a number of apps you can find that will guide you through. These apps can explain how to do a body scan to release tension and can advise you on how to find quiet times to make it a regular practice in your day. 

Take a Deep Breath

In line with meditation, breathing exercises may help, as breathing impacts a number of things — including how you regulate emotion. 

If you find your mind racing, taking a few deep breaths might be helpful. After doing this, you may notice you feel a bit calmer and those racing thoughts have stopped — at least for the time being. 

Develop Coping Strategies

Therapy can also be a helpful tool in combating chatter in your brain. One form of therapy that could be worth exploring is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). 

When you participate in CBT, you work with a mental health professional to look for patterns of behavior that amp up the noisy thoughts in your brain. From there, you work with them to try and find ways to change these behaviors so that you can quiet your mind.

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Go For a Run

Need to chill? Consider going for a run. Or hit up a yoga class. Or hop on your bike. The point is, breaking a sweat can keep your mental health strong. Plus, regularly working out can relax anxiety caused by mental chatter and other things.
You don’t even have to kill yourself with something that is high-intensity. Simply doing something that requires your focus and energy — like taking a walk or doing pilates — can help ease all that noise because you’re forced to think about the task at hand.

Try Medication

If anxiety is causing your mental chatter, there are a number of anti-anxiety medications that may help. 

You’ll need a prescription for anti-anxiety medication, so talking to a healthcare provider to figure out what medication could work for you is a must. Anti-anxiety medications commonly prescribed for anxiety include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines and beta-blockers.

It’s possible you may need to try a few of the above suggestions to effectively quiet your mind. To talk through what could work for you, it is not a bad idea to schedule a consultation with a mental health provider. They’ll be able to assess what kind of mental stress and noise you have going on and help you come up with the exact solutions that may work for you.

11 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. My Mind Is Racing. Mental Health America. Retrieved from https://screening.mhanational.org/content/my-mind-racing/?layout=actions_d
  2. Weiner, L., Martz, E., Kilic-Huck, U., (2021). Investigating racing thoughts in insomnia: A neglected piece of the mood-sleep puzzle? Comprehensive Psychiatry. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X21000493?via%3Dihub
  3. Teker, A.G. & Luleci, N.E. (2018). Sleep quality and anxiety level in employees. Northern Clinics of Istanbul. 5 (1), 31–36. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5864704/
  4. Seppala, E., (2019). Four Ways to Calm Your Mind in Stressful Times. Greater Good Science Center. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/four_ways_to_calm_your_mind_in_stressful_times
  5. Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E., et al. (2014). Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1809754
  6. Zeidan, F., Martucci, K., Kraft, R., et al. (2013, May 21). Neural correlates of mindfulness meditation-related anxiety relief. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 751-759. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/scan/article/9/6/751/1664700
  7. Farb, N., Anderson, A., Segal, Z., (2012, March 14). The Mindful Brain and Emotion Regulation in Mood Disorders. Can J Psychiatry, 57(2): 70-77. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3303604/
  8. Bhatia, R., (2020, March 24). Accessing Your Ability for Mindfulness in Times of Stress: Mindfulness at your Fingertips.Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/accessing-your-ability-mindfulness-times-stress
  9. What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral
  10. Exercise for Stress and Anxiety. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety
  11. Anxiety Disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Kate Hagerty is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of healthcare experience. She has worked in critical care, community health, and as a retail health provider.

She received her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Delaware and her master's degree from Thomas Jefferson University. You can find Katelyn on Doximity for more information.

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