Table of Contents
This happened to me just now.
I was trying to settle on one topic for this issue of the newsletter, but my mind was all over the place.
I thought, Maybe I can fit this topic in along with that topic as well? That's a great idea. I could cover everything!
But that approach is problematic.
Scattered thinking and racing thoughts seem like they can work.
They feel like they can cover a lot of ground.
But in the end, something sinister happens. You're going to need to know about it--and what you can do to avoid it.
Scattered Thinking and Racing Thoughts
"A mile wide and an inch deep."
I hadn't heard that somewhat goofy phrase until I moved to Montana. But as goofy as I first found it, it's actually a pretty apt description of what happens with scattered thinking and racing thoughts.
It's like multitasking.
You think you're getting so much done by working on 45 tasks at once at once, but you're actually doing 45 things very poorly.
The benefits of multitasking?
Well, it's been proven that they just aren't there after all. And at the core of multitasking is a scattered way of thinking. You have one idea that zips and zags through your mind before it crashes into another idea and then ricochets into a third.
This can be great for creativity, but it's not so great for getting things done. Racing thoughts will not help you race through your day in an effective way.
In fact, they will pummel your mind and drain your emotional and physical energy.
This is the sinister effect that I referred to above. It's a recipe for extreme emotional fatigue. It will deplete your mental health.
So what is a frustrated human to do about it?
You're in luck. There are some strategies you can use to save your day.
Strategies to Stop Scattered Thoughts
Now, some of these strategies take time. That's just life. But if you want to clear your mind and get through your day in peace and productivity, I've found that they're well worth the effort.
Let's dive in. Here are the strategies to ward off scattered or racing thoughts:
1. Learn to meditate
This has been one of the biggest game-changers in my life. Meditation has transformed the quality of my life for the better. Google "how to meditate" and click around a bit until you find something that resonates with you. And then try it out! And it doesn't have to be hours upon hours of meditation to reap the rewards. I've found that a few minutes a day can be enough to clear your mind and focus on one task at a time.
2. Speaking of one task at a time, focus on one task at a time
Make a list of the things you want to do during the day. Start simple. Pick something on your list and commit to working on it for 25 minutes. This time frame is commonly used in the pomodoro technique. You'll be amazed by what you can get done in 25 minutes. Once you've finished one task, cross it off your list, take a short break, and then move on to the next one. Simplicity is the key to productivity and happiness.
3. Change your body to change your mind
Have you ever noticed that when your mind is racing and your thoughts are scattered, it's often because you've worked yourself into a contorted frenzy with your physical position? When I'm anxious and my thinking is all over the place, I check in with my body. Usually, it's hunched over in an uncomfortable position, or my hand is on my face or neck, or I'm not breathing as deeply as I should be. When this happens, I change my posture or move around. Simply changing my physical state changes my mental state.
And that's it, folks. One of these simple strategies should give you something to work with. Give ONE strategy a try for one week straight and see what happens.
Scattered thinking and racing thoughts have wreaked havoc on my life. But, over time, and with lots of practice, I've found a way out.
You can too.