Racing Thoughts: Using Exercise to Stop OVERTHINKING
You know the “I can’t shut my brain off” feeling? This is a common phrase I hear in the office everyday.
Does racing thoughts:
- Keep you from falling asleep
- Wake you up at night
- Hit you right when you wake up
One way to help remedy the overthinking brain is simply movement, physical activity, aka...exercise.
When we allow too many things to get on our TO DO LIST, we train our brain and nervous system to grow neural pathways to accommodate the list. Stuffing every waking moment with a task trains you to EXPECT something to be done, all the time. Your body will release the proper chemicals (neurotransmitters and hormones) to perpetuate this program to keep running. Eventually the programming becomes a BELIEF, and that belief changes the way you perceive reality. This belief creates a habit, a daily ritual to try and get it all done.
The belief -“I must get everything done today to feel accomplished!” You could have 10 things on your list, and only get to 3 of them. And you calmly tell yourself that I will get to the other 7 tomorrow. However, your body is subconsciously thinking of those other 7 tasks right now, in the present moment, and it creates a chemical response to meet all 10 tasks, EVEN if you can only get to 3. This can put your body into thyroid and adrenal gland overload, chronically producing stress hormones to meet all the tasks (all 10) on your To Do List.
Your body will produce thyroid hormone, adrenaline, and cortisol to give you strength and stamina to meet these habitual demands everyday. This can be what gives you the racing thoughts. You train your brain to constantly think.
Exercise can help. How?
- Physical Activity helps utilize and burn excess thyroid and adrenal hormones that were once used to fuel your racing thoughts.
- Exercise first thing in the morning or later in afternoon (preferably before 7pm) is ideal, because these are times when most stress occurs-thinking about what to do when you get into the office or so over stressed when you get finished with work.
- Movement will train your body to take excess stress hormones and donate them to your exercise. You will FEEL calmer and reduce racing thoughts because you RE-TRAINING your neurology to focus on the exercise instead of the TO DO LIST.
- The exercise will increase endorphins, make you happier, and help you become more efficient by becoming more present in the day. You will find your decision making and the ability to sleep and rest increase.
- Research states you need 30-45 minutes of daily exercise to balance your brain chemicals and hormones. Try this and see the racing thoughts slow down.