We offer specific tools and practices to calm a Repeating Mind. Read about your subtype below, then choose the tools and practices you'd like to use on your pathway to calm.
The middle part of your brain has an important job to do—it helps you keep your focus, retain memory, and connect with others. Too much energy in this part of your brain, however, may cause a particular form of anxiousness. The mind gets stuck in loops of repetition like a scratched record, obsessively playing the same thoughts over and over again. Focus becomes fixation, an experience known as rumination. Unlike worry, which typically involves new thoughts of what to fear, there is nothing new when one ruminates. Like animals that chew their cud, rumination involves chewing on the same few thoughts over and over again, as if doing so might help you digest them.
Often, this over-activity affects mood as well, creating a sense of edginess or agitation, moodiness or irritability. And sometimes these same loops create repetitive behaviors, known as compulsions. For most people these are just mild and annoying, but at the extreme end of the spectrum it can develop into disabling obsessions or compulsions.
The problem of a repeating mind may be anchored in the limbic system and a few key structures around it--what we often call the “emotional brain." These circuits are meant to communicate important information from one part of the brain to another, but they can get locked “on” if there is too much activity. The mind runs too fast because the normal braking system isn’t working properly or is overwhelmed by the brain chemicals that cause acceleration.
To get relief, you have to get this system of acceleration and braking back into balance. As a start, you can boost the calming neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, or tame the stimulating chemicals like glutamate and norepinephrine.
The stress response is our normal human reaction to feeling threatened. Sensing danger, the brain activates the adrenal glands which then prepare us for action (this is often called the “fight or flight” response). This response is not bad in and of itself. In fact, studies show that short-term stress can even be good for us.
However, if you are prone to anxiousness, the stress response acts as an accelerant, adding fuel to the fire in your mind. So while it is important to calm the mind, that is often not enough to get a repeating mind back in balance. You must also take measures to tame the stress response and eventually to address the sources of your stress. Otherwise, the embers of anxiousness will stay lit, ready to flame up again as soon as the conditions are right.
There are many things you can do to boost your resilience in the face of stress. And there are many strategies that can help you balance your subtype and calm the Repeating Mind. See below key tools to help you reclaim your calm.
This website is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Join Dr. Emmons as he walks you through natural and mindfulness approaches to balance your subtype and reclaim your calm. This self-guided program allows you to move at your own pace, but is also complemented by a community group space. This space offers fresh monthly content and conversations to enrich your journey. Sign up for the waitlist to learn more and receive special early and discounted access when the program launches in Spring 2020.