Benefits of Meditation

Q+A: My Mind Is Always Racing. How Can I Slow It Down?

One of the best tricks for slowing down a racing mind is meditation on the breath.

The mind races when we haven’t taken care of our health and wellness on a grand scale. This can happen for a number of reasons, although overly hectic lifestyles, poor dietary habits as well as information overload are the usual suspects. The mind also races when we are holding unconscious worries and preoccupations.

One of the best tricks for slowing down a racing mind is meditation on the breath. Meditation is a tool for halting the mental spin cycle and, more importantly, beginning to identify less with your thoughts and emotions as “you.”

Here is a simple breath meditation to reduce stress and provide some instant relief to a racing mind: Close your eyes and let your body relax and settle as you sit with your spine tall and long. Feel your spine lengthen with the inhalation, and feel the navel draw in toward the spine with the exhalation. Allow your spine to be tall, yet relax the muscles alongside it. Begin by internally witnessing the navel move in as you breathe out, and the chest expand as you breathe in. Do this for one minute. Now, begin to smooth and even out your inhale and exhale. Let the ratio of inhale to exhale be even. If you are breathing in for a count of 4, try breathing out for the same amount. Continue following the breath and coming back to the counts if the mind wanders. You can practice this for as little as a few minutes during a busy day, or as a longer seated meditation.

Katie Silcox is the author of “Healthy, Happy, Sexy – Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women.” She’s a vinyasa yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner, contributor to Yoga Journal, and a senior teacher within the Sri-Vidya ParaYoga lineage under Yogarupa Rod Stryker.