Whenever I get ready for bed, my brain races with busy thoughts: "Did I turn off the stove? "Did I send that important work email?" "Did I pay the electric bill?" This thought racing is known as busy brain syndrome and it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, not to mention sleepless nights.
If you have a busy mind, it can harm your health and even your finances. Find out more about the symptoms as well as our tips on how to calm a busy mind.
How to know if you have a busy brain
How do you know if you have busy brain syndrome? Well, if you find yourself tossing and turning at night because you keep thinking about all the things you have to do, you likely have busy brain syndrome.
It’s not just racing thoughts that can indicate a busy brain. If you feel distracted and clumsy, it can be a sign that your brain is busy.
For me, it can feel like my brain is in a fog. I have so many things going on that I can’t focus on one thing and end up making mistakes, either in my writing or even in my personal life. I once almost put cat food in my coffee instead of sugar!
Another sign is going on autopilot. Have you ever gotten in the car to run an errand and found yourself taking the road to your work instead of where it is you intended to drive to? Your brain is so focused on other things that you forget what it is you are supposed to be doing at the moment.
And of course, if you find yourself overthinking everything, going over every little item and detail, it’s a clear sign of busy thoughts. It can be overwhelming, as you replay loops in your head, planning and worrying over things that could or might have happened.
It can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. And in turn, your bad mood can lead to many sleepless nights.
How a busy brain can impact your finances
A busy mind doesn’t just impact your ability to sleep and your stress levels. It can be detrimental to your finances as well.
When you have busy thoughts, you may be so focused on other things that you forget to do things like paying your bills. Or you may be overwhelmed and unable to figure out what to invest in. Instead, you and your finances, are stagnant.
Stressing over money can have a big impact on your finances and your mental health. It’s important to keep a budget so you’re on top of your bills. You can even consider automating your finances so don’t always have busy thoughts about money and bills.
How to calm a busy mind: 5 Simple tips
If you have busy brain syndrome, there are a few things you can do to calm your thoughts and bring back some peace into your life. Here are some top tips for how to calm a busy mind!
1. Take deep breaths
When you start to get overwhelmed or have a lot of racing thoughts, remember to take a deep breath. When you take deep breaths, it forces your heart to beat more in sync with your breathing. This, in turn, releases endorphins, a natural chemical in our brains that produce a calming effect.
Research has shown that deep breaths can have a positive impact on the whole body. The act of breathing deeply uses neural networks that are tied to emotion, attention, and body awareness and activates the relaxation portion of your nervous system. This allows you to take a step back and regulate your stressful emotions.
2. Practice mindfulness
Another great way to ease your mind when it’s full of busy thoughts is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation. It’s about being intensely aware of yourself and your surroundings – your breathing, the wind outside, the neighbor's dog, the fall of a leaf.
It usually involves deep breathing exercises and guided meditation. A simple way to practice mindfulness is to do a body scan. You can do that while you are at work or even walking your dog. Become aware of your body.
First, focus on the toes, then the feet, and work up to the top of your head. I find this body scan is a great way to calm my buzzing mind during a stressful workday. It takes no more than a few minutes and helps me to feel relaxed and calm afterward.
3. Listen to ASMR or calming music
When I can’t get to sleep because of my busy brain, I like to listen to ASMR videos on Youtube. ASMR is short for autonomous sensory meridian response. It’s a sensation some people get when listening to specific sounds.
For me, ASMR is a bit like meditation. It helps my brain forget all the things I need to do and instead fall into a deep sleep.
The same calming effect can happen when you listen to music. Some studies have found that listening to music that has 60 beats a minute can help you destress. I find that listening to classical music while I work helps me stay focused.
4. Go for a walk
Sometimes the best thing to calm a busy mind is to go for a walk. Just like breathing, gentle exercises like walking release endorphins, which can boost your mental health. Not the mention it’s a good idea to stay active for your physical health as well.
If you find your mind especially wanders during specific times of day, try to schedule some time to walk during that time. It can be just around the block and doesn’t need to be for long either. And being outside can also serve as a healthy distraction.
If you can, try to go to a park or somewhere in nature. It can help bring your thoughts back and soothe your busy brain.
5. Make a to-do list
Writing things down can be therapeutic. Offloading all the things you have to do and when you have to do them can get them out of your brain. So when you do need to remember what errands you need to run next Friday, it’s already on your to-do list.
Studies show that people who write down the things they need to do the next day tend to sleep better than people who write down the things they did that day.
Calm your busy brain and improve your life and finances!
Knowing how to calm a busy mind can not only lead to better sleep but can also help your finances and general well-being. So the next time you feel your thoughts racing, use one of our tips, like going for a walk, taking deep breaths, or listing to music to keep your busy brain at ease.